Not larger than life, just lodged in it sideways

Some of you may remember Gordon Jennings, who was an editor of car and motorcycle magazines in the 1960s and 1970s. Most people who knew him found him to be both brilliant and difficult. His hardscrabble beginnings as the oldest child of migrant farm workers in the Great Depression shaped his view of the world as, he often quoted, “nasty, brutish, and short.” Competition of all sorts engaged him. If he couldn’t beat you on the race-track, he’d later browbeat you at the dinner table. Not an easy man to be with; yet, I stayed married to him for a decade. In private moments, when Gordon felt as secure as he ever could, there was a sweetness to him; a gentleness and honesty that made me feel secure with him. He would have been 81 years old today.