by Chris Harper
An Arch is a structure that is put in a position to help support great weights far in excess of its own while providing a view that all can see and look through. Our Dr. Arch McCallister helped support an enormous number of people and gave us much written beauty to look through as he rattled out his Pearls and Pastes.
I first came across Dr Arch Mcc when I joined the MPDchat site in 2010 to research the condition with which I had been diagnosed, Myelofibrosis. Arch followed my SCT blog and chipped in when appropriate. However, the following year we were both ’excluded’ from that group, with some other ’naughty’ people for being too honest without enough decorum and found our way to Zhenya’s MPD/N Facebook page that he started with a handful of likeminded MPNers, in support of the MPNforum Magazine, to eventually grow to several hundred members today.
I always loved to read Arch’s posts, initially chat quotes, as they were written with such clarity and style and his move to Pearls and Pastes increased his following. Yet despite the consistent positive feedback he got for this work he often showed a vulnerability and sensitivity about it, as shown in this P&P from Lou Holtz.
“The problem with having a sense of humour is often that people you use it on aren’t in a very good mood.”
Well Coach, I wince when I wonder how many times I try to post something light and humorous here that is inappropriate for some one. I try to notice if there is a preceding sad or depressing post and wait a while, but let me apologize here and now for my many failures that all too often worsens someone’s woes, Arch.
We became good cyber friends across the ocean and I helped him celebrate his natal days with my own musings that summed up his excellent work;
Happy birthday ninety three
Wonder what today will be
Judicious use of pen and ink
Converted to an online link
Educating us on MPNforum
Done with panache, backed with decorum
We all look forward to Mac musing
Things educating and amusing
Quotes expanded and explained
Set to task our slouchy brains
Thoughts developed in a bygone age
An intellect from a sprightly sage
Wisdom that just can’t be bought
Converted into cogent thought
Statements sound and thought provoking
Not sure if sometimes you are joking
Always with an interesting story
Some censored by the boss, that’s Lori
Your collected thoughts we love to hear
And look forward to another year
Yes I know what today will be
A lovely pearl and pasting spree
So do it with your verve and glee
On a Happy Birthday Ninety three
Like many others I loved Arch. I don’t think there is any other description. He truly was an amazing man with a fantastic intellect from a bygone age and, as well as help and support, he gave so much pleasure to so many with his rapier like pearls and pastes.
After knowing Arch online for several years I had the privilege of meeting him, or was it taking Lesley to meet the old charmer, in Tallahassee. It was hard work getting him to agree as he wanted to protect his privacy but I explained that I would be happy to simply shake his hand at his garden gate and then walk away as a thank you for his help and support for me in the preceding years. Instead we met in a local park where he provided us with a lovely picnic lunch including cucumber sandwiches in case we were vegetarians, fruit drinks and snacks. It was lovely to hug someone who meant so much to me and many others, and to provide the Forum members with up to date photos of someone of whom everyone was in awe. A fantastic few hours that flew by all too quickly.
Doctor, wood turner, radio ham, friend, confidante and no doubt many other roles in his life with the chief one being long term husband to Lori, who he leaves behind.
Farewell Arch. We have already been missing you, but you have given us memories and lessons that will stay with us for life. Our thoughts are with your family both immediate and extended. The planet has lost a star but the firmament has gained a supernova.
Important footnote. We have not lost our connection as his Pearls and Pastes are not lost, they still exist in cyber space in the MPNForum Facebook ‘ARCH’ive. Hope my last offering to him below points you in the right direction.
Shame you didn’t make 95
You’re sorely missed by those alive
Our forum has an enormous hole
Like the residue of a rampant mole
Your work will never go to waste
As we can find each pearl and paste
You haven’t left us in the lurch
As we find them with a simple search
Simply look on Facebook MPNForum
Input ‘Arch’ in search field without decorum
And there displayed for all to see
A pearl and paste multiplicity
And as we read the wisdom bare
It will be like you are still there
For us you will always be alive
Even though you didn’t make 95