I received the news of Glenn Lord’s death two hours before midnight on New Year’s Eve, west coast time. I shot off a few emails and returned to the party, trying not to be too much of a downer. The next morning I left for Texas. This was not related to Glenn’s death; my dad and I had planned the trip the week before as something to do during the last of my three-week Christmas break. We covered a lot of ground in Texas, but by the time I found out when the funeral was we were too far out of range to attend.
People who knew Glenn better than I will no doubt have some thoughtful and poignant things to say as time goes on. I knew Glenn only a little, so I’m trying to remain upbeat, though his death has left an empty space: I found a few things on the Texas trip that I would normally have shared with Glenn, either a phone call or a letter, but Glenn doesn’t need me to share anything with him now. And while I know his loss must be terrible to those who knew him well, his family and friends, I’m remembering the bright spots in my brief acquaintance with the Godfather of Howard Studies.
After a year of corresponding, I finally met Glenn face to face at Howard Days 2006. We both showed up at the pavilion before the crowd arrived and I introduced myself. “I was looking for you,” he said. “I’ve got some copies you might be interested in.” He did it again at that year’s World Fantasy Convention in Austin. I didn’t even know I was going until the day before I left. I drove non-stop for 18 hours just to spend a few hours at the convention and hob-nob with the Howard-heads. When I ran into Glenn, he said, “I brought something for you, just in case you showed up.”
Since Glenn was always sharing with me, I started sharing everything with him. After his stroke, his packages stopped showing up for a while, and when they resumed they were no longer accompanied by personal letters. That didn’t stop me from sharing everything I found, though our correspondence was one-sided. More recently, we started talking on the phone occasionally. He seemed genuinely interested in the Herbert Klatt material I’d uncovered, and Lone Scout of Letters may have been the last REH-related book he ever saw—I sent him a copy in early December. I hope he liked it.
My association with Glenn is one of the bright spots in my brief career as a Howard-head. And in a recent email to me, Leo Grin reminded me of a few things we can all be thankful for: Glenn lived long enough to receive numerous accolades for his work and saw his side win in the big spiritual and critical battle for REH’s legacy over the de Campian crowd. Leo closed with this: “If there’s an afterlife of any sort, then doubtless he finally met the spirit of the guy who fueled his obsession these last sixty years. Maybe Steve Tompkins made the introductions.”
Enough. Others will have real things to say about Glenn’s contributions to the field; I’ve rambled on too long already. I’ve only been home from Texas for a few hours now, but catching up on all the emails I missed, I know that at some future Howard Days, when I’m older and balder, I’ll borrow E. Hoffmann Price’s words, substituting Glenn for Robert E. Howard: “Gentlemen, this is the hand that shook the hand of Glenn Lord! Line forms on the right, quit shoving, and don’t step on the women and children.”