“I heard a great laugh, the greatest laugh in the world, and here came this rawhide oldtimer Nebraska farmer with a bunch of other boys into the diner; you could hear his raspy cries clear across the plains, across the whole gray world of them that day. Everybody else laughed with him. He didn't have a care in the world and had the hugest regard for everybody. I said to myself, Wham, listen to that man laugh. Thats the spirit of the West, here I am in the West.”
- Jack Kerouac, On The Road
Brett Tippie is a big guy.
His smile is huge.
His voice is enormous.
His laugh is monstrous.
And still somehow, his spirit is even greater.
That scene in Jack Kerouac’s novel, On The Road (well, minus the Nebraska Farmer part,)
has always reminded me of Tippie.
Because he moves through the world with spirit,
a positive vibe,
buzzing so loud
and so bright,
everyone within reach feels the impact of his presence.
“It was the spirit of the West sitting right next to me. I wished i knew his whole raw life and what the hell he'd been doing all these years besides laughing and yelling like that.”
I’m fortunate to have been impacted by Tippie’s presence more times than I count, and in ways meaningful enough that I’ve learned a lot of his
‘whole raw life and what the hell he’d been doing all these years.’
And I’m truly thankful for everything you teach, random phone calls, Deep Cove frisbee sessions, and the vibe you bring to Summer Camp each year, Tip!
Tipp-ically (ha, get it?!)
when I’m hoping to capture someone’s portrait, I watch for their eyes to look at ease and let the rest of the frame melt away from that focal point.
But in this image, with his eyes closed, Tip just has a weightless kind of splendour about him that I can’t look away from.