It’s been an odd day. The sort of day where you really don’t know what to say. The only thing you can manage to get out is, “Sigh. I’m going to miss him.”
Jim Weirich was building interesting stuff with Ruby several years before I was introduced to it. Tools that most of us have taken for granted. Tools that were just there.
Before Jim came along… they didn’t exist.
Back in the early Ruby on Rails explosion era (circa 2004-2006), it was much easier to get to know the great Rubyists. I remember finally getting a chance to meet Jim (and _why) at FOSCON here in Portland, which still goes down as one of the best “conferences” I have ever attended.
(I think we all knew something special was happening.)
Jim spoke at a ton of conferences. At any conference that I seemed to get invited to speak at… Jim seemed to always be on the speaker list too. We’d end up meeting up on the conference circuit a several times over the coming years. It was always a delight to catchup.
Photo by Obie from Rails Underground 2009
I believe the last one was in 2009 at Rails Underground in London. I remember walking in one of the rooms and spotting Jim. There he was… waiting patiently for his time slot… sitting by the wall in another horribly uncomfortable conference chair… hacking away on his laptop as if he was on a mission to save the human race. In reality, he was probably toying around with some new idea.
As I walked towards him… my red hair must have caught the corner of his eyes… because he looked up and with the warmest of smiles and kindest of voices said, “Robby!”
It’s people like Jim that helped me feel like I had something valuable to contribute to the community. The mere fact that he knew who I was, that he commented on my silly blog posts, referred potential customers to me, showed up for and complimented me on my talks, asked ME for advice on IRC, wished me a happy birthday on Facebook, responded to my lazy tweets… made me feel like I was welcome to (and part of) the party.
A party that started a number of years before I showed up.
Let us raise our glasses high and thank our host for the pleasure of being amidst his most generous company.
Thank you, Jim, for helping me learn more about myself. I only wish I had gotten to know you more.