A Cheeky Blithe Spirit
Blithe spirits come in all sizes: this one was about 5 feet 6, skinny, with a smile that asserts itself in Cathy Bruneau's snapshots. There he is, Paul Bristow, cocking his head, compelling you to cast off the grumps, wearing a fright wig, kicking up a leg.
The British-born Mr. Bristow, 27 — "a little cheeky person," says Ms. Bruneau, his fiancée and companion for seven years, first in London and then in Brooklyn — made sure that he never worked more than he needed to, which is not to say that he slacked off at the Risk Waters Group, where he helped organize conferences. It's just that he preserved time for the important things: shopping, friends, shooting pool, getting lost on a country road and savoring its beauty.
Funny, endearing, he could charm even the crustiest. Here is Mr. Bristow, surrounded by Ms. Bruneau's non-English-speaking relatives, rolling in their seats at a wedding in France as he repeatedly tries out his one sentence in French: "Another bottle of white wine, please?"
Like a child, he would dance impatiently around Ms. Bruneau when he wanted attention. But he reciprocated in spades when she was blue, with giant hugs to help her "get the cry out," as he would put it.
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on November 28, 2001.