The article that begins on page 84, The Good Fight—For 102 Years, was written by Kenny Moore, and is a reminiscence of his grandfather, Fred Moore, who will be 102 years old on New Year's Day. We think it fitting that his extraordinary life be recounted here by his gifted grandson, and fitting also that it be included in our year-end issue, which focuses on the participation by all manner of people in all manner of sports. Surely more than a century of robust living qualifies Fred Moore as our ultimate participant.
Last fall, when word of the project went out, relatives rallied to the cause with anecdotes, each with his or her own favorite memory of Grandad. Kenny gathered these up, added his own memories and interviewed his grandfather to fill in the gaps. Then Kenny, the son, handed the finished piece to his father, Melvin. "I was a little hesitant, having my father read something I'd written about his father," Kenny says, "but I certainly didn't expect him to react the way he did."
"I was shocked," says Melvin. "It really jerked me to my feet. That isn't the way I see my father."
Next, Kenny showed the story to his aunt, Vivian Bristow. She was "horrified! I never think of my dad in those terms—fighting in bars, moving from place to place. I think of his strength of character, as well as his physical strength. And I'm a bit less critical of his poetry."
"After all, we had lived with Dad for a long time before Kenny knew him," says Melvin. "Dad was 75 when they met." Vivian agrees, adding, "During the Depression, or when the mills went out, Dad would lose his job, but he always found work, and we felt secure. He could sell anything, and if he'd had an education, why, we'd all be wealthy today. I wanted Kenneth to write about that, and what a wonderful father he was to us all."
It was left to Kenny's mother, Marian, to point out that a grandfather and a grandson have a special relationship, unlike that of a parent and child. She sees Kenny's view of her father-in-law as an adoring and gentle one, unclouded by obligation or loyalty, and their relationship as an exclusive mutual admiration society. Here, Vivian concurs. "Dad follows Kenneth's writing and running closely," she says, noting Kenny's fifth-place finish in the recent Honolulu marathon. "When SI arrives, Dad looks first for an article by his beloved grandson. When he doesn't find one, he'll tell me, 'Kenneth doesn't have a piece this week. He's going to be fired if he doesn't start writing soon.' "
At his wife's insistence, Melvin read the story again and was persuaded of its merits. In turn, he persuaded his sister of them, at which point it occurred to someone to ask Grandad himself what he thought of it all.
"Well," he said, "I was disappointed that David Falconer, who came to take my picture, couldn't play pool." An oversight for which we apologize. But the story? "A lot of foolishness," he pronounced.
We respectfully disagree, and are sure that no one who comes to know this amazing man through the delicate and moving pen of his grandson would miss the opportunity to wish Fred Moore a very, very happy 102nd birthday.