Old Friends Who Never Met- A Jim Henson Tribute

This beautiful tribute article is written by our good pal Chase Beecher.

Chase Beecher- 24 years ago on Friday I received news when I got off the school bus. My mother sat me down on the couch and told me that I needed to act like a grown up and be tough,for the news I was about to receive was going to be hard to hear. She then sat beside me and told me that Jim Henson had died. I instantly started sobbing. I cried for Kermit and Piggy. Cookie and Grover. Gonzo and Big Bird. Wailing, with my mother by my side, we watched Peter Jennings deliver the details. 24 years later, it still feels like a gut punch. I lost my mentor, my oldest and best friend. Strange. Someone I knew, but never met. I knew all of this as a 6 year old. The older I get, the impact grows. I realize fully, that we were old friends that never met. Not in this life, anyway.

Jim just wanted to leave this world a better place than when he found it. He did. The ripples of the tides of his life are immeasurable. Imagination didn’t die that day. Creativity didn’t die that day. Kermit didn’t die that day. Jim’s life and legacy lives on like it should. People like his children Brian, Lisa, John, and even Heather carry their father with them. Frank Oz is out there, somewhere. Paul Williams will sing “Rainbow Connection” for a dollar. I kid. (Who knows, he might.) Folks like Steve Whitmire, Eric Jacobson, Matt Vogel, Bill Barretta, Carroll Spinney, and the other Muppeteers create Jim’s magic and carry his legacy boldly and brightly on their shoulders.

Folks like Rollie Krewson, Bonnie Erickson, Karen Falk and Craig Shemin and all the other folks at the Jim Henson Legacy and Archives are preserving the past. Jim, you are not forgot, and sorely missed. What worlds are you creating now? What would life be like if you were here with us? We may never know.

A candle blew out that day in 1990, but the light still shines. Imagination is thriving today. Creativity soars. We are all inspired. Even in little things. Jim affected everyone. Me. You. Yeah, you. So go put a sock on your hand. Build a new world. Go out and play in the sunshine. Sit under an oak tree. Talk to a frog.

And Singing chickens are still funny as ever.