Sunday, April 27, 2008

Eel River Ernie on Roger Rodoni.

Eel River Ernie, who is sometimes confused with me but he is not, is one of the most interesting commenter's in the north coast blogs. He doesn't have a blog, but he can use mine anytime, so I'm going to move his most heartfelt comment about Roger Rodoni to the front page.

Eel River Ernie said...

I have just not been able to bring myself to comment over the past two days as the sadness and grief over losing Roger has kind of overwhelmed me. Roger was special in many ways, not only his straightforward manner but in his common sense and grasp of what was and is right. I have shared many a fishing, camping, hunting and travel stories with him over the years. Once or twice (a month) we even had a cocktail or two together at Parlato’s or other unseemly places, i.e.; Native Sons, Fortuna Chamber Mixer or Rotary gathering. Roger and Johanna are special people, down to earth, realistic folks with deep roots in our rural Southern Humboldt culture.

I worked with Roger as part of his campaign committee three times over and as a fellow member of several boards and commissions including HCAOG, HTA and the Fish and Game Commission. His reserved manner, no nonsense approach to problem solving along with his ability to weave an appropriate analogy into a debate added a great deal of humor to quasi serious discussions and settled many a dispute before their start.

Roger was a man of many talents and interests, and some of my favorite conversations with him dealt with his and Johanna’s summer trips to Montana and Wyoming. Most recently, at Roger and Johanna’s recommendation, the wife and I visited the Lewis and Clark exhibition and Charles Russell museum in Great Falls Montana which gave me a lot of insight into Roger’s being and beliefs.

I could go on and on about shared experiences in Canada, Montana, Wyoming, Nevada and elsewhere but one phrase comes to mind that I think kind of sums up folks of Roger’s ilk that I recall from a tour of duty in the our capitol city of Sacramento. Over State Office Building Number 1, across from the State Library and just west of the Capitol, inscribed in granite is the saying from a Samuel Foss poem “Bring Me Men To Match The Mountains” the rest of the poem, stated elsewhere, goes on to say “Bring me men to match my plains: Men with empires in their purpose and new eras in their brains.” To me, Roger was of one of those of whom Samuel Foss spoke.

My heart goes out to Johanna and the family.

Eel River Ernie


Ernie Branscomb said...

Thank-you, Eel River Ernie, for saying great things about Roger.

Part of the reason that I am out of bed and writing here, is my unresolved conflict with myself. I know that Roger was a great man, and that it is okay to disagree with someone on political issues. When something like this happens, a person is filled with more guilt than is realistic to accept, and I keep asking myself if I would feel better if I had agreed with him on all the issues that he perused. The answer is no, I wouldn’t feel any better about what happened.

I think that the reason that I have always avoided talking about politics on this blog is that I have always known that people and human relationships transcend political disagreements by country mile. Some people seem to want to make politics personal, and if this tragedy serves to teach anybody anything, it is that the value of treating the people around you with the respect that each and every person deserves. You never know when you, or someone around you, will be gone, and the last thing that you want to have on your mind when someone passes is that you treated that person unfairly and you didn’t have a chance to apologize.

I think one of the things that we liked about Roger is he had no qualms about disagreeing with someone. So, from that standpoint I feel much more comfortable in the things that I disagreed with him on, and I never made any disagreement personal. That fact is something that gives me great comfort right now. So, why am I up at 3:00am?

Carol said...

One can still disagree and be kind at the same time. Roger taught us that lesson.

Kym said...

"I have always known that people and human relationships transcend political disagreements"

Ernie, that was beautifully put and one reason I usually avoid politics on my blog. But I'm coming to see that without discussion not only is there no hope for others to change their opinion but, most importantly for me, there is no hope for me to grow and change my opinions.

Eel River Ernie's tribute was beautiful but so is your warm concern that your political differences with Mr. Rodoni didn't hurt the person you liked as a human being.

Eric V. Kirk said...

I drove by the accident site on my way to Eureka yesterday and my eyes watered up. I also became very conscious of the traffic on the other side.

Cristina said...

During my last conversation with Roger - when I interviewed him a couple of weeks ago, in anticipation of an article which now won't be written - we had a wonderful exchange about the time my partner and I spent around Eureka, Nevada, during spring break a few weeks back. Turns out that Roger knew the area well (of course), and we had similar thoughts about "the real Nevada" - the wide-open, beautiful state we love that encompasses everything except for Las Vegas.

I didn't know him well, but I was looking forward to continuing that conversation.

Eel River Ernie said...

Ernie – thanks for posting my comments in regard to Roger! I hadn’t responded earlier as I have spent the day (since 0600) in my drift boat on one of the local lagoons fishing for fish, thoughts, solace and peace. The quandary you mention about resolving political differences with personal relationships strikes home. Like you, I think Roger had a real grasp on being able to disagree respectfully, argue a point, listen to a rebuttal and still be able to go have a drink with an adversary afterwards. Having been involved in politics myself for many years as pawn, minion, staff and past office holder I admired Roger’s ability and only hope I measured up in his eyes and the eyes of those whose whiskey I drank.

Your blog, along with EKO’s are my favorites because you all really try to steer away from hardcore politics. However I must admit, in order to satisfy some perverse political curiosity, that I enjoy the Humboldt Mirror and a precursor, whose name escapes me, that have a real (and intelligent) insight into what’s going on in Humboldt County politics. Please keep up the good work!!!

PS: I am sorry that sometimes people mistake us for each other, I will do my best to not embarrass you - ERE