L. Thon C’est Bon!

Our friends, Larry and Joy Thon

Larry and Joy Thon

Our friend Larry Thon died last week. He was killed when a tree fell on him during a severe storm while he was sleeping in his bed. Larry always said that he hoped to die by going to sleep one night and not waking up in the morning. He got his wish, though in an unexpected way and entirely too soon. It is ironic that Larry, a Marine, Vietnam War veteran and cross-country cyclist who came through so many dangerous situations unscathed, was taken out by a Beech tree.

Bill and I met Joy and Larry Thon on a National Geographic journey to the Galapagos Islands. We connected early in the two-week trip and quickly became friends. One of my sweetest memories of that time was Larry and Joy helping me snorkel. While I know how to snorkel, in the past decade I have become afraid of water–but what would a trip to the Galapagos be without exploring underwater? When they discovered my fear, Larry gave me his right arm and Joy her left, and by hanging on between the two of them, I felt completely safe snorkeling and had a great undersea adventure.

There were other travels together: Egypt, Jordan, Patagonia, Peru, Argentina, the Chilean wine country, Cornwall, Normandy and more. Larry planned many of those trips in every detail, including reservations at the best restaurants in each area. He was very clear on what he did and didn’t like. He liked visiting battlefields; he didn’t enjoy yarn stores. (Nobody’s perfect.) He liked to keep moving. He was a good traveler—no whining allowed. And Joy is the perfect name for Larry’s wonderful wife. We had a lot of happy times together.

One of Larry’s favorite stories involved a trip to France in his twenties. He passed a small grocery store with a poster advertising a certain canned fish: “Le Thon, C’est Bon!” The proprietors were puzzled by the young man posing for a photo in their store until he pulled out his passport and showed them that his name in French was, indeed, “Larry Tuna.”

Bon Voyage, dear friend.

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About Alexis

Alexis Rankin Popik, author of Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate, is an award-winning short story writer whose work has appeared in The Berkshire Review and Potpourri Magazine. She has penned numerous articles about local history that have been published in Connecticut Explored and the University of Connecticut School of Law and The Hartford Seminary publications. A former union organizer, Popik traveled the country educating shipyard workers about health and safety and founded a labor-management health plan before turning to writing fiction full-time. She lives with her husband in New England.

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