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On Mouse

Patricia Bradshaw (not broadcast)

This is Dark Cloud on Saturday, October 20, 2007.

In 1983 I’d been at KGNU for two years. I had concurrently been working at a place with a colorful bunch of folks, one of whom would leave a small caliber handgun bullet on my desk when I had done something of which he’d disapproved. On it, written in fine grey ink were the words “Your Name.” I think I got a couple. It was a joke, I was assured, although from under my desk or adhering to the ceiling I might have misheard. So long ago.

In the event, I eventually considered it a joke and one day told this new lady volunteer at KGNU about it. She, like everyone, called me Dark, but when she said it, it involved a prolonged vocal ascent of nearly an octave. It made me laugh. She thought the bullet story hysterical. Compadres.

But she didn’t entirely believe me, and when I showed it to her the next day, she was so pleased I gave it to her. That’s how I met Mouse Bradshaw. She never told me what she did with it. What happens after KGNU ammunition transfers is simply not discussed. Part of the code, don’t you know. Burn this.

This was over at KGNU’s second home, long after they left the creek by the Harvest House, and had moved to the second floor by the Aristocrat restaurant on the corner of Spruce and Broadway. A few years later, the station moved to where Alternative Radio is now, on Walnut and Folsom, and after two decades there to its current location from which you hear this. I’m old, and in my early morning confusions, starting in my thirties, I sometimes would end up at the wrong building. So you can imagine my sparkling mood when I did finally arrive at the correct one, especially in those years I had no car. There was always something too different about the new buildings, and it took me a while in each to get used to new surroundings. Or, rather, having to reimage Mouse in the new surroundings. That accomplished, seeing her organized and happy, all seemed okay soon enough. Mouse was nearly always the first person I’d meet and always the first person I'd greet.

Having Mouse there was instant hospitality and wherever she was, her smile and laughter made it okay. Patricia Bradshaw was the sort of woman whose gracious personality unfolded like an open veranda about her of civility and kindness and hospitality. She was blessed with the ability of the unforced welcome, calming inquiry, making everyone feel okay. Talking with her - both of us gunned on coffee or early morning energy - always ended with me, at least, feeling like I’d been sipping iced tea on a long summer evening on the porch with a neighbor of long standing, relaxing and energizing both, and parting glad to know she was next door, taking care of things.

We were not close enough to be friends, although I certainly thought of her as one and she certainly had opportunity to be one to me. She was not one to pass on such an opportunity and she did not. My attempts to repay were, predictably, hamfisted and awkward. Of course, she declined opportunity to point that out.

During our shared years here, Mouse would leave handwritten notes of approval or polite dismay in my mailbox, She had beautiful handwriting, and a gift for the word, and I would scan some of them and keep them on hard drive, along with my replies, often a jury rigged defense. My last communication from her was a long email months back. She was consumed with happiness with her computer and shedding her Luddite carapace and enjoying the Internet, which in many ways was designed for the Mouse Bradshaws of the world. I hope she enjoyed that computer during our last year with her at least as much as I had needled her she eventually would. Mouse and her PC was the only chilly relationship I knew her to have, during those years when she eyed it as I had subpoenas, and addressed only when forced.

Mouse was a tough cookie. I imagine an annoyed Mouse could clear a bar of drunken Blackwater mercenaries before they could call in support. I never saw that side of her, but there was in her eyes - along with her empathy and kindness - something revealed by her silent turn of the head away from her desk while listening to some radio report on an egregious horror perpetrated by someone. Then, she’d right her head and return to work, saying nothing, her two pigtails hanging flat down her back. Her anger – the anger of the righteous - was palpable, silent, and rather scary for that.

Mouse passed away early last Thursday morning while I was getting up to do my stint at the station for the Pledge Drive. If Christopher Hitchens and I are wrong, she’s got the gang on the porch and Slade’s leading the pickup band, and the ice tea – and only iced tea, being where they are – is flowing.

I wept. I wept because I miss Mouse already. It’s always a shock to know again that our names are indeed written on something, a bullet or a bug. Bless her heart and soul, for decades lent free to this station she loved and those of us graced to have known her. Well done, old girl.

Hale!

Audio

(This was written on the BlogaBoulder on October 19, they day after she passed away, and was up the 20th where it still remains. The Audio was never reliable there, and now the Drive is over, it can stand alone.)