There is no order in the following, because no life is neat and tidy. Any mistakes are my own, but all the sentiments are honest and true.
It took until your return to Seattle for us to truly begin dishing about baseball. You taught me a lot, which was pretty easy, because I knew next to nothing. If one searched our text thread, I am pretty sure the phrase “Tim, are the mariners…good?” would likely come up quite frequently, mainly because it was very fun to send a diehard fan such a text right after a surprising win or even a good play (such is the nature of diehard fans, especially Mariners fans, that they’ll grasp at any faint lining of hope). Ironically, because you were very good at slowly inculcating your own passions in others, I have sadly also now become that most unfortunate of creatures: a Seattle Mariners fan. Got me there, Tim! I never got to go to enough games with you, for what seem now like nowhere nearly good enough reasons beyond, well, having an infant son and/or daughter…which seem pretty good come to think of it.
The thing is, though, that baseball as a sport really does serve as a good introduction to much of you. Baseball is characterized by history, by knowledge of arcana, by humor, by romance, by passion (162 games is passion, I don’t care what you may say)…and more. But those things really stand out when you think of Tim Cantu. Speaking of history (via a hefty dose of music, so let’s do a twofer)…
History, courtesy of Hamilton
Perhaps nobody loved Hamilton as much as you. I know for a fact you identified with Lin-Manuel Miranda (in some ways, not all) and Hamilton for a host of reasons, not the least of which your passionate patriotism. However, I’d like to issue once again a thanks for putting up with the sheer volume of Hamilton quotes I slung your way over the years, even if the association to whatever we were discussing was tenuous at best. Of course you then felt free to do the same – this is the same man who texted me within hours of his first son being born quoting Hamilton: “Pride is not the word I’m looking for/There is so much more inside me now”. I recall you once criticized me for being too Burr-like, quoting the song “Wait for It”. It was a fair critique overall, if not at that specific incidence, which was one piece of advice you gave me that I’ll hold now forever.
Hamilton was really just the surface of it though. Perhaps unsurprisingly given your profession, you had a truly epic nerdy command of much of history and politics, and were nearly as addicted to Twitter as some I’d prefer not to name at this time, which gave much great fodder for lunchtime conversations (
and overly early beers). Also, I have to give you kudos for always being the one to reach out to organize lunches, though that was not the most surprising, given your social predilections.
Miscellany: A man of the people
A great writer and good friend of ours, one Patrick Brown, noted today:
It is easy to attest to that statement, having been on the sidelines for much of it. I grew up with Tim, although it took until recent years to become much better friends. You were not only a good man who pursued his vocation of husband and father nobly, but also a true extrovert who freely admitted being type A, who loved socializing and bringing people together. I recall college football watches with smorgasbords of food; the time I got quite peeved at you while you were hosting a houseparty for correctly predicting the Patriots would come back from being down 28-3 against the Falcons; the October 2019 wedding I was graced enough to attend with you and all your family that featured an unforgettable choreographed crowd version of “The Git-Up” that you performed with more gusto than maybe anyone else in the crowd…
There’s more, trust me. But no list need be exhaustive. Moreover, candidly, I don’t have the heart anymore, right now. Let’s just reiterate that I saw firsthand more care and devotion and dedication to his vocation – his family, his core people – from Tim across his whole life than I have seen elsewhere in much of the rest of my life. It is a true inspiration, to which those who knew him will be forever grateful.
Music: An American dream
It’ll be a little while before I can listen to J.S. Ondara’s Tales of America (a fantastic album) because that was probably one of the best recommendations I ever got from you. Also, by the way, can I issue another thanks for being one of my few pals who got even the most esoteric musical references I would drop, especially hip-hop’s deepest cuts? That said, given your sheer level of passion and the fact you tended to have an opinion (erring on the strong side usually) on most things, maybe I should now also issue my first apology for the numerous times I would disagree for the sheer hell of it. Right now, I am listening to Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony, which I steadfastly maintained to you eclipsed every Beethoven symphony ever. Do I really believe that? Never really did, but it was always fun to needle you a little given how reliably you rose to the occasion. By the way, why the Resurrection Symphony? Well…
Home is where the heart is
It may be entirely due to an extreme bias against Tuesdays in general, but my memory vaguely recalls that I got a text from you on a Tuesday a long time ago that you were either going in once again to doublecheck if you had oral nodules or had just received your diagnosis.
Since then, words fail to convey how hard you fought for the sake of your family and friends. Tim Cantu fought with the heart of a lion – matched only by that of his amazing wife Marie – for months on end, through travails that can only be imagined. The very last time I saw you, you did your best to convey appreciation and chuckle at my dumb jokes and type up thanks on your phone screen, despite being clearly very weary. That one example, toward the end, sticks with me to this day. The number of times you personally updated our group of friends with heartfelt, charitable, courageous updates, that astonished us with your patience and equanimity, still resonates in our collective minds.
You stole home pretty dang early on us, Tim – although I am so sorry that there was so much pain along that last basepath. Let me assure you that we know you are truly Home now, because you fought the good fight, you stayed the course, and you kept the faith. So if you would, pray for us, brother.
In the meantime, I will do my best to refrain from picking a bone with the Almighty, because, honestly, one more game would have been nice. Just one.