Kim Prince Memorial Gathering

What does one say to capture the essence of someone as complex and multidimensional as Kim Prince? He was a man of many moods and many faces. He was both very out front and very hidden, so we all know some part of him but none of us knew all of him. Part of the purpose of this memorial gathering is to share our particular pieces of the puzzle so we can all have a more complete portrait of the man.

I first met Kim on the tennis court in the semi-finals of the Club singles tournament in the early 70's.He beat me easily and demonstrated impressive tennis skills and athletic grace in his movement. I found him to be somewhat arrogant but an interesting and attractive human being. Over time the bond between us grew as we shared our love of the game as well as our combat experience in two different wars. When he ended up dating two of my daughters and spending much time in our home, the bond grew even deeper. I came to love Kim as a dear friend because he made me feel good about myself. He was curious and enjoyed my company. I felt included, affirmed, and valued as part of his life. I know that many of you had a similar experience of being with him and he was that way with people of all ages and conditions. He loved good food, good wine, good talk, good stories . I miss his presence in this community at the foot of his beloved Monadnock more than I can say. I know many of you do too.

The tragedy of his life with its ever increasing pain and the yearning to be whole and strong again was his refusal to make peace with the limitation that fate had laid upon him. He sought through surgery a transformation it could not provide. So finally he was determined to live life on his own terms or not at all. Consciously or unconsciously Kim fostered a heroic image of himself, often through exaggeration and half-truths. He did not need to do that for me to love him as he really was, in his flawed but unique humanity. Many of you felt the same way and I suspect we all feel a certain sadness that he was not able to fully grasp that about himself.

So here we are at the foot of his beloved mountain to do honor to his memory and share our stories with each other of the Kim we knew and loved. Before I close my own sharing, I want to read a poem which Kim sent to me in the Fall of 1992. To my mind it captures so much of his spirit, his view of life, and his struggle with the fates that wounded him:

IT BREAKS A HEART...

When gentle green of summers come and gone Gives way to brittle brown and red instead, And comes Fall's cool and smoky wind A harbinger of winter's dread ahead, The sting of seasons past tugs an aching heart And tells a man how long he had his start...

So little time from boys to men and then begone, When every year the blowing leaves so sadly sing their song Of passing noble moments too sweet to savor long, Perhaps a love that blushed before it passed along...

One season's sign, this Fall, of the brief and frenzied race To rush before cruel time so surely slows our pace, When just yesterday, it seems, a carefree blink ago We joined a boundless summer lark so easy in the flow...

Smooth sculpted boys so free, sinews full of length Without a pause to ponder awesome youthful strength Give way to brittle twigs and bones impossible to stall, Oh God, it breaks a heart this season of the Fall...

And then before we learn to sing a tender summer song Yesterday is gone with burning leaves so best to move along, It rushes by, our bloom, in a single day of Fall From here to there from bright to bare and then that's all...

A graying mottled sky behind a forest's slash of yellowed red Casts deep the shadows on even sturdy souls with dread, How could we spare ourselves the brightly shortened day? Just once a callow breath to please rejoin the fray...

Trees leaving all our dreams and leaves behind Tell every man that nature's way is hardly kind, So bittersweet this splendid colored call, Oh God, it breaks a heart this season of the Fall...

Oh God, it breaks a heart this season of the Fall.

Having once been a preacher, I cannot close my words about Kim without reading a few lines from the Psalms. Kim was not conventionally religious but he was spiritual in his own way and had a real sense of the sacred, especially in the beauty and majesty of the natural world. Hear these words from the 121st Psalm:

I will lift up my eyes to the hills. From whence does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth... He will not let your foot be moved, He who keeps you will not slumber... The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and for evermore.