This message is to Al: You befriended a young minnow searching for himself. This minnow had already swam in private school waters learning much there was about literature and philosophy. But when this minnow encountered you in a class on existentialism, the minnow began to sprout legs and soon was an amphibian gaining access to solid ground. That minnow was me. Al, I have known you longer than I knew my own father. Sometimes I feel bad that I was not a true son to you but in many ways you were always a father to me. You saw something in me enough to give me one of your prized books on philosophy which continues to hold my interest. You are a genius. Few people I have ever met in life experienced the rawness of a poor childhood as you did and the drama of military intelligence as you did, and the drama of the political realms as we both did, and even in our lively discussions about truth, honor, integrity and a few friends (recalling our conversations on Aristotle) even then, there was a meeting of your great mine to my little mind, thus increasing the capacity for me to understand many things....however starkly true, with a smile. Oh my, my friend, my philosophical father, mentor, you were good for the world. You and Laurie were exemplaries in the world of people as they mushed around trying to find their way, you would be there, both of you, to help them along. I remember helping you lay brick at your house, and remember your focus being only equaled when you were building sentences that made sense. The art of wondering? You mastered it. I wished I had been there for you at the last my friend. I wished I had been there to offer a prayer that you might have not understood (not because of the disease) but because prayer was always one of those phenomenological quandaries you had not really come to a final conclusion upon. These things outside our capability to speak of have always been the mystery. And now, you see beyond what we can; and now you are able to see the answers to questions we all have asked. Al Keaton, my friend, my mentor, I wished I had told you I loved you. Those are precious words spoken by a son to a father. But I know you hear me now. I know it. You were good. You helped a poor student who had nothing become a full person. You were concerned for the unfortunate and always reacted with a sense of empathy in the light of any struggle others experienced. Hail to you my friend. You remain with us always. My prayers are prayers of joy at having known you all these years. To Laurie, my love, all will be well in the end. As you walk the dogs along the paths seemingly alone, Al looks upon you, Laurie, like an angel ready to protect his great assignment. I know you hear him. I end this with a quote from one of his favorite philosophers, Ludwig Wittgenstein: Where of man cannot speak, let him Passover in silence." Peace Tom Baca, eternal friend and student, and son.