Letter: Grant’s not gone

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Grant Adamson poses with his family's Pierce Arrow last September at the Adamson House's Antique Car Show.

Just like everyone else, when I heard that Grant Adamson died in that  horrific accident in Switzerland, my heart sank. I have a hole in my heart that will never heal. Grant had called me two days before the fateful day, left me a message of his trip and how beautiful the country was and the joy of having his family with him on another expedition   around the world. He was coming back in a week or so and was excited to take my grandkids for a ride on the “mini” horses and carriage at the family ranch. A ride that will have to wait for another time and place.

Grant may not be around to greet us with his vintage “Hola” anymore in that soft, easygoing manner of his, or engage in well-spoken, thoughtful conversation that was his alone, but he is not gone. Like Grant, I grew up in Malibu. When we sold the family home a couple of years ago after 60 years, my trips there became really a visit with Grant and some old friends. A power lunch with Grant and Louis Busch was a regular event, more like a revisit of the good old days. Grant really loved Malibu and Malibu loved Grant. Both have that “fits all” size to them, just like that easy listening’ music we all love to play. He’s not gone. Just close your eyes and you will conjure up that smile and a memory.

When you drive down PCH just past the Adamson House, and look over at Malibu Point, you will see Grant coming in on a perfect 4-foot wave just made for him. A drive into Serra Retreat will put you up top, with the Jesuits fondly looking down on the paradise of the Adamson ranch, where Grant and I would saddle up the ponies for a morning ride up Zuma Mesa or the Backbone Trail, Grant in the lead, with a story (or 10!) along the way covering local lore. He’s not gone. Grant always told me his church was the “church of the open sky” and he meant it, and lived his life accordingly, doing the things that HE wanted to do. He was damn good at almost everything he did.

The splendor of Pepperdine Campus was a joy to Grant, whether on a regular morning swim with his pals or engaging the students who couldn’t get enough stories about Malibu. No, he’s not gone. I’ll think of him every time I enter or exit PCH at Malibu Canyon and marvel at the Adamson legacy that was perpetuated by Grant during his life. Terry and Lauren and Megan are a testament to the Pepperdine life, and all will carry on Grant’s torch.

A bike ride up Latigo Canyon on a Saturday morning was a joy to Grant. He loved his walks and hikes with Terry, whether up a Malibu  trail or to the top of Mount Whitney. No, he’s not gone. Look up at the Malibu hills, Grant’s roaming them still.

Our trips to the hills of Montana, the plains of Wyoming, and the rugged Alaska frontier will be no more. Boy were they fun. And Grant made  them fun. He was pretty much a reserved, casual sort of fellow, but when you tickled his fancy, he would let go and it made the experience all that much better. Cold mornings in a duckblind with his prized shotgun and more prized labradors is a treasure I’ll never forget. He’s not gone, still on target as always. 

I’m going to miss Grant, a lot. We all will. But we won’t forget him, because Grant won’t let us. He’s not gone. Just out on an extended leave. Keep those good thoughts of a really good man.

Your pal,

Jim Mallen