The image entitled “Speechless” pays tribute to the voice talents of Mel Blanc, who brought to life almost all of the Looney Tunes characters, for more than fifty years. As illustrated in the picture, the death of Blanc in 1989 silenced the original voices of so many childhood favorite cartoon characters (e.g. Bugs Bunny, Yosemite Sam, etc.), changing them forever.

The wisdom in the illustration Speechless resonated with me acutely this week. First, I completed Tony Hillerman’s final police novel “The Shape Shifter.” With Hillerman’s death late last year, this was his final work in a series of eighteen fictional mysterious that were written over four decades.

The setting of the series was in and around the expansive Navajo Indian Reservation that borders four western US states (Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah). His main characters including the clumsy yet admirable officer/sergeant Jim Chee and the meticulous thinking lieutenant/retired Lt. Joe Leaphorn, as well as a host of other regulars, were silenced with Hillerman's passing and will remain forever speechless.

Though “The Shape Shifter” was not my favorite work in the series—-I thought Leaphorn acted inconsistent with his previously established character-—Hillerman’s ability to craft a historically and culturally accurate book describing the challenges of the Navajo people as well as the difficulties in policing on a reservation is unmatched. As I read, I thought about if Hillerman knew that this would be his last work. My guess is that he did know as the story includes closure for Chee (marriage) and the widower Leaphorn (retirement and an agreeable relationship with a university professor).

After reading many books in the series and becoming close to the characters, it is disappointing that these officers will never embark on a new adventure. A useful review of the book is here.

Second, this week, we learned of a pregnant friend and her unborn child (12 weeks) who were killed late last week in an automobile accident. She had volunteered to work an extra shift at a local retail store, and lost control of her car on icy roads on her commute home. This friend was always eager to greet us as our rowdy pack of little ones entered her store—-she even bought them a small Christmas gift with money that she obviously needed for her own family. It saddened us to think that our family will no longer enjoy her friendly face and kind words.

With these events, it was a week that “Speechless” was a fitting description. From 2 Corinthians 4:18:
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.


copswife said...

wow, that made me tear up. Especailly since I left work early today due to bad weather. It's just not worth it to stay at work when the weather is bad - not when you work in a field, like I do, that you can go home.

Slamdunk said...

Thanks for the kind words Copswife. Glad you made it home safely--we are getting another snow/ice storm as well.

Sandra Glendinning said...

I'm sorry for the loss of your friend, Slamdunk.

And it does the literary and entertainment world is losing several of the greats recently, doesn't it?

Slamdunk said...

Thanks Sandra--yes, deaths and other events seem to occur in bunches and we seem to be in one of those cycles.