Meeting a Man of Travels and Discoveries :
by Patrick Egan
Thailand, 2007

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I had a phone call from Brian one evening inviting me to the wedding of Garmon his eldest son, that would be celebrated in Thailand. Brian and I had been friends since the 60's and I had been at his wedding to Lek, but having lived mostly abroad, I had not met their family before. Brian was sounding enthusiastic and it seemed like a good idea so I said yes.

On the beach, after the ceremony, I was enjoying the occasion and was happy I'd come. Brian introduced me to family and friends and I met Cyril. Brian and I sat under a tree and Cyril went to fetch us cocktails. In recollection I see someone who smiled a lot and had an air of tranquillity about him. Someone at home on the beach, with the expanse of blue sea and sky at his back. In fact I saw one of those people who are at home in the world whatever the location or the company so I wasn't surprised to learn that he'd done a lot of travelling.




Cyril told me a bit about his travels in Africa, and the more recent journey through India on a Royal Enfield motorbike. We chatted a bit about India, of which I knew very little and motorbikes of which I knew a bit more. By a strange coincidence a young relative of mine had also been biking around India on a locally made Royal Enfield at about the same time. In the great world of the sub - continent they had parallel experiences but their paths had never crossed.

The last time I saw Cyril was later that evening. The wedding banquet was in full swing on the hotel terrace and he dropped by to see if I was enjoying it. Brian told me later that Cyril would be staying on in Thailand to teach in a school for underprivileged children. In the course of his travels he had found something he valued enough to detain him.

A year or so later I had another phone call from Brian but the tone was very different. Nothing can change the unhappiness of Cyril' s death at such a young age; but as a writer having lost many friends in war once said; there is not only 'the stubble field' of passing away but 'the full granaries of the past where nothing can be undone'. Nothing can now undo the fertile field of experience and imagination that was Cyril's life. The seeds he sowed live on in the present actions of his friends and it is worth considering how many of us can guarantee that on our travels we will eventually find something we value enough to detain us.


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