Farley Crabgrass – Pile On! (a digital memorial)

My tremendous friend Farley Crabgrass is gone. He passed away IRL just before Christmas on December 23, 2012. I am still taking it in – that he is really gone. It has been confirmed by official group notices from the Elf Circle group, where he served on the High Council, and by the Farhaven group, where he co-owned the cluster of the “Haven” sims associated with Elf Circle, including Farhaven where I live.

I’m writing this post to remember him, and to encourage all who knew him to leave stories and tributes in the comments so that we have a central digital memorial here. As Farley used to say around the seal racetrack – when the race was over and we all hopped on a single sled for a just-for-fun ride around the course: “Pile On!”

I encourage anyone with photos to post them in the Elf Circle group on Flickr. Be sure to include specifics in the description. Or, if this is not possible for you, drop them into my Second Life inventory, and I will post them on Flickr for you. Or, email them to me at: bay.sweetwater@gmail.com.

Farley was a larger-than-life character in Second Life who touched hundreds, probably thousands, of avatars – and often the RL people behind them. He was the force behind the creation of the Farhaven sim and its associated other “Haven” sims, bringing to (second) life his dream of creating a wonderful world to share with friends and family. All of us who live there became his family and we grew to care about each other deeply. He was always an inspiration to me of what a human being could be. His humor, generosity, warmth, creativity, and – always – time for everyone made him everyone’s “Local Hero.”

Farley was the force behind weekly Farhaven dances, the Bardic poetry and story competitions in Elf Circle, Relay for Life in Second Life and countless other Elf Circle events – and of course the famous Seal Racing tracks he built over the years. My life is forever changed by knowing him. I met him when I first stumbled into Second Life and rented my first parcel of land from him. He always made it possible for me to stay, even when RL issues made it a challenge.

Farley could make you laugh no matter what. (His avatar’s name probably gives you a good idea of his humor.) One time when I was feeling down over some RL issue, I went to an ice skating party in Farhaven. Farley handed out silly freebie zebra avies, and we all line-danced as identical zebras to the dance music stream. How could anyone feel bad doing THAT?

Farley always supported me in my writing and machinima, and he was a wonderful mentor. He himself had been voted both the Bardic Circle Poet Laureate and the Master Storyteller, and he greatly valued the vast creative talent in the Elf Circle members – 1,900 of us now. He had his own youtube channel where he posted the machinima he made in Second Life, including the one we all probably love best: Let It Rock, about seal racing in his Southaven sim.

Farley maintained his own blog called My Paper Guitar, where you can read his stories and poems. Most are funny. Some are hilarious. My personal favorite is Stinky the Owl. Sometimes when I need a laugh, I go read it. It ages over time, like fine wine.

His kindness was legendary. Willow Greysmark, in a facebook post, remembers when she fell behind in a seal race, Farley would wait for her to catch up, then tussle her to the finish line. He did the same for me, too – sometimes he would never even let me get behind. He’d just keep pace with me, then fall off the track somewhere near the finish and I would win. He was so good at it that I didn’t even catch on in the beginning, until I saw him do it for other newbie racers. Never once did I see someone new arrive at the seal track and not be welcomed by Farley and taken through a trial run or two. He could never stand for anyone to feel left out or out of place.

Perhaps what everyone remembers most about Farley is his sense of humor. It was wacky, mischievous, and irreverent, often with his homeland Canada thrown in. Rose Mackie, when she posted a Flickr photo of her fishing in Farhaven in an evening gown, recalls Farley saying:

“I just dont’ know about you “Southern Belles” … fishin’ in an evening gown? Come on up to Canada and we will outfit you with a snowmobile suit and mukluks and treat you to a day of ice fishing – bring a bottle of that Southern Comfort to keep your spirits up …. *hug* “

I could go on and on, but Farley would have hated it, so I won’t. He was modest, as brief as possible in communication, and always, always kind. Bless you and rest in peace, my friend.

Love, Bay


4 Responses to this post.

  1. Vaneeesa Blaylock's Gravatar

    Posted by Vaneeesa Blaylock on 26.12.12 at 11:56 am

    aww Bay, I”m so sorry to hear about this. A good friend of Yordie’s also passed away just a week earlier:

    This is all such sad news, but of course, the sadness is a reminder, a signifier, of how alive they were and how loved they were. IRL peeps do sometimes exit in an instant, but other times there is a journey of decline. The funny thing about avatars is that they’re perfectly healthy right up till their typist isn’t there to “take care of them” anymore.

    Thanks to new media he was able to leave a journal, and you’re able to publicly remember him, for audiences that transcend the physical space of a cemetery or ashes flickering over a sea cliff.

    I never had the pleasure of meeting Farley or Yordie’s friend Lalo, but these bittersweet transitions are also a reminder for us to embrace the beauty and wonder before us, before it passes us by.

    Here’s to you Bay, to Yordie, to Farley, to Lalo, and to 2013!


  2. Bay Sweetwater's Gravatar

    Posted by Bay Sweetwater on 26.12.12 at 11:56 am

    Thank-you, Van, for your kind and thoughtful comments. They mean so much at this time.

  3. Hunter Quirina's Gravatar

    Posted by Hunter Quirina on 26.12.12 at 11:56 am

    Farley and I used to hold a very sick contest. We both had heart attacks less than a month apart. We used to send each other messages asking.., “Are you still around?”.., it was a laugh for the both of us but I knew his was more to be worried about. He told me that with his congestive heart failure, he would beat me to the other side. That was his sense of humor. He loved it whenever I would play The Moody Blues. He always made me feel good about my music, and gave me the freedom to do whatever i wanted at Elven Glen. Seeing he and Pheo always lifted my spirits.., now O know he is watching and making fun of me as usual. I can feel it in every show. So I still talk to him, and still play his songs. He will NEVER leave my heart. He’s not really gone.., he is just cloaked. 😛

  4. Elizabeth Foden's Gravatar

    Posted by Elizabeth Foden on 26.12.12 at 11:56 am

    I just have to say how sad this truly makes me feel. I got acuainted with who Farley Crabgrass was through an internet radio station I listen to. I have always wanted to get to actually know him in SL, but I sadly now will never get the chance to. And after reading your post here, I can say that I was right about him all long. I could tell what a wonderful individual he had to be just from listening to him talk on his station.
    I am very sad for your loss and for all his family and friends!

Respond to this post