Thank you for being my friend. Thank you for being my brother. Thank you for being a positive influence on me and my family. Needless to say, you left us in your prime. You should have lived to be 200 years old. I say this because you had such an uncanny ability to intrigue and inspire everybody around you. People naturally gravitated toward you. People wanted to have a beer with you, even though you preferred root beer as a rule.
Where it came to art appreciation, you sure broke the mold. That painting you did of the Grand Canyon. You sure did a heck of a job. My Grand Canyon painting wouldn't be quite as good. And how did you manage to come up with that funny drawing of a rat watching a Mickey Mouse cartoon on television. I would never have thought of that. You were always coming up with colorful material. I like your wood carving of President Jimmy Carter. You went to a lot of trouble to create that. Wherever you may be, Damon, if you should get a hankering to do a woodcarving of President Lyndon Johnson, please do so. It will be a lot of trouble, but your talent for woodcarving knows no bounds. A museum several times the size of the LBJ Library would be needed to house all your drawings, watercolors, and woodcarvings. Maybe I exaggerate. It sure is easy to do with friends and family, huh?
Where it came to music appreciation, you broke the mold there as well. People declared you tone deaf. I didn't mind a bit. What's more, when it came to family outings to Irish Beach and Lake Tahoe, everybody wanted to share the same car with you. Maybe you couldn't sing on key, but your energy and enthusiasm sure made up for it. Would you sing that Buck Owens tune again? I think it's called A-11. And what do you say we round up your friend Jim Corbett and have some more Joan Baez and Bob Dylan revivals?
Damon, you sure had an appreciation for libraries and bookstores. You were constantly curled up with a good book. It's a funny thing. It's easy to curl up with a good book. It's quite difficult to curl up with a good computer. In addition, I miss talking United States history with you. You really would have liked KGO's John Rothman. That man is a walking encyclopedia. I keep trying to stump him on US history and US presidents. But he is not to be stumped. Perhaps you could stump him.
Again, Damon, family and friends miss you something fierce. The world is a different place without you. My sense of imagination dictates to me that you are out there somewhere having a grand old time. Maybe you are no longer in the physical world, but your truth goes marching on. Maybe you are no longer in the physical world, but your love of watercolors goes on. Maybe you are no longer in the physical world, but your woodcarvings endure. Maybe you are no longer in the physical world, but people loved you whether you were tone deaf or not. Maybe you are no longer in the physical world, but as long as there are books, I guarantee that people will continue to curl up with them for hours on end. Maybe you are no longer in the physical world, but people will always remember you for your positive influence. You sure had an incredible sense of humor. People will definitely remember that too.
And so my dear friend, my dear brother, but especially my dear friend, I won't forget you. Neither will family and friends. I know you're out there somewhere. When I see interesting watercolors and woodcarvings and the like, I will think of you constantly. Hopefully I will find any excuse to think of you.
Your friend as well as your brother,
Matthew Kratoville May 22, 2003
P.S. I miss going to Walt Disney movies with you.