Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur
jducoeur

RIP: Kali Harlansson

In my years in the SCA, I've had a lot of people who I considered mentors in one way or another. Some are obvious, like Steffan, my Pelican, with whom we honed the particular flavor of discussion that would come to be known as Silverwinging. Some are less so -- for example, Bish, whose sense of humor and perspective I came to appreciate in my interactions with him and readings from his days at the top. From Patri, I tried to learn style and the proper behavior of a gentleman; from Marian, her common sense and joy of learning.

But possibly the very first one was Kali Harlansson, MKA Caleb Hanson. He was Seneschal of Carolingia when I joined -- I started attending Great Council pretty much as soon as I started -- and in the ways that these things work, I sort of figured he had been Seneschal forever. He wasn't a perfect administrator, or anything like that, but he drove home to me the notion that when you are in a role like that, the paperwork is less important than the role of community leader. Sure, the Baron inspires the Barony and provides it with vision, but the Seneschal is responsible for taking that vision and helping the community coalesce, in a practical sense, to get things done. He ran the show with wit and grace, and that made Great Council *fun* in a way that I think has been forgotten over the years. It wasn't just a business meeting, it was where the entire Barony could come together to see each other and meet as a community, on the level, as friends.

He had an acute sense of the SCA's own history, and loved to tell it, and he was one of the people from whom I picked up that particular passion. (And then Caitlin picked it up and ran with it.) Over the years, he became effectively Carolingia's Lawspeaker, the person who understood not just what our Charter said, but *why* it said that, what history caused it to be that way, and what the implications were. He never put on airs about that, but he had the good sense and deep knowledge needed for that role, especially after Patri passed away and Marian became too ill.

We didn't become personal friends until later years, both of us core members of what I sometimes call the Carolingian Old Farts Poker Table. He wasn't a card sharp, and often lost a little, but he always helped enliven the mood of the evening. For all that he was almost ten years older than me, I always admired his youthful spirit and mental energy.

He was one of the good ones -- not a founder of Carolingia per se, but one of the people who built its greatness. And he was simply a consistently good man, one of those rare people about whom I never heard a harsh word spoken. He will be much missed...
Tags: obituary
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