After the sudden shocking news of the loss of dear Tony, many of us felt somewhat orphaned without our friendly 'Godfather' of Cretan archeology and so many goodtime memories.
Since many of the Chania circle were unable to attend Tony's UK funeral and wake, on 14th February, it was quickly arranged by Mihilis Manousakis, a most dear friend of Tony's through the years, to have a memorial service held at the Catholic Church in downtown Chania, on Friday 16th February.
It also seemed desperately important to honour Tony's memory and passionate love of Chania, for him as much as for us.
To be stood amongst the congregation that evening was beautifully calming, with its dusky rose hues, Mother Mary statues and gentle lights. Somehow just 'being' in the space together was enough to feel the love and loss which we all shared. Somehow words just couldn't shine with the spirit of Tony which we knew.
The Catholic priest from the US base kindly came to our rescue by taking the service for us.
The friends of Tony who gathered that evening were many and varied. Old friends, new friends of all backgrounds, musicians, scholars, artists, writers - fellow lovers of Crete, all magnetically drawn to Tony.
For some of us knowing Tony as a humanist, the words of the mass washed over us in a blur. The hymn 'Amazing Grace' came to our rescue, and filled the church with emotional release. It was one of Tony's favorites.
The memorial ended with gentle, loving words from Michilis, and then a long unbelievable silence, until the lights were dimmed slightly, waking us up to the reality of the end.
It was as if we were waiting for Tony's booming voice to shepherd us forward, to tell us to "snap out of it", "pour the wine!", and live on as strongly as his memory is in our hearts.
With that in mind, many folks instinctively went directly to a local bar and drank wine, and made many toasts to Tony. We knew he would be waiting for us there, at least in spirit.
As time moves on into this summer of 2007, we will continue to honour Tony's memory through our art, music, writings, words and actions. Tony's memory will surpass his mortal years, for such is the result of the great life he led.