(Saturday 14 July, 2012, at 11am)
The black shoes that finished off my attire for the funeral shimmered despite the overcast morning weather. White shirt and black suit. It was 6.30am, when I departed my house, headed for Seattle. Ten minutes later, I flashed my passport and crossed the border.
Fog shrouded my vehicle for the initial part of my drive through woodland and rural homes. By the time I reached the motorway, the mist cleared revealing a dull grey slate sky, the sun obscured.
I reached my destination early, arriving at 9.10am. This afforded me time to settle down with a cup of coffee and a book. A short while later I walked into the cemetery with its low laying monuments and headstones set amidst closely cropped grass.
There was an uncomfortable-comfort I found at that burial site, having visited several times over the last decade to pay my respects to Bruce and Brandon Lee, as well as Ed Hart.
A hole had been dug.
A small green canvas tent erected.
Two dozen chairs in orderly lines.
People started congregating shortly after 10am. Within an hour, a small throng of mourners had arrived, people freely mixing, shaking hands, hugging. Old friends, family, Gung Fu fighters representing varying lines, the majority of whom tracing their roots back to Bruce Lee. This gathering brought together the Seattle era of Gung Fu, which began in 1959 when Jesse Glover, met a young Bruce Lee. Together they configured a fighting conceptual framework that endures.
What struck me most about the gathering was the subconscious divide that occurred at the funeral. Seattle era private students within Jesse’s core group tending to remain on the periphery, content to remember our mentor with quiet reflection.
The most notable speeches were made by Bruce Lee’s widow Linda Lee, Jesse’s family members and students. A short distance behind the speakers stood Taky Kimura, a wonderful gentle soul. Within the crowd another friend of Jesse’s from the Bruce Lee era; Leroy Garcia.
There were too many notable martial artists to list individually. Students from as far off as Switzerland, Germany and England. All great fighters in their own right, many of whom remain indebted eternally to Jesse Glover.
The funeral began under the looming presence of an angry sky. Rumbles of thunder rippled when speeches commenced. By the end of the funeral, as the coffin was lowered and soil placed above, the Heavenly host had cleared the sky, unleashing the skin warming glow of the sun. As the world mourned his loss, the divine spirit celebrated the arrival of Jesse Glover. A man who practiced Gung Fu and taught the art of transcendence.
(flowers and fresh grass mark the spot where Jesse was laid to rest)