A month and ago I received a terrible phone call: one of my best friends, Rod Landreth, had suddenly passed away. He was home, sitting in his recliner, getting ready to watch a movie with his husband, Jason, when he collapsed and was gone. The medical examiner determined he had a massive heart attack. He was only 44 years old. To say that this was a shock to all those who knew Rod is an understatement. A big Rod-shaped hole in our community and in many of our hearts.
I met Rod and Jason shortly after I moved to Northwest Arkansas after being stationed overseas for a decade. I had moved there to go to grad school and as soon as our feet touched American soil, my ex-husband and I split up. It was a very lonely point in my life. I remember feeling like my luck had left me in some ways. I sat down with Rod at one of the Moots he and Jason had come down to and asked him how to increase my luck. Of course, he had sage advice: make and keep your oaths. It took several years, and many oaths made and kept, before I felt my luck return. Over the years Rod and I both finished our degrees and found jobs we were more or less happy with. We supported each other when people in the kindreds we’d pledged ourselves to respectively, treated us like shit. I tried finding a job in the Kansas City area several times over the years, but never found one. I had wanted to study Spae/Seidthr under Rod, but it was difficult being four hours away from one another.
I’m so very happy that Rod & Jason were able to come visit my new husband, Steven, and me, and that all my favorite fellas liked each other. Steven and I took them to Terra Studios, an artists colony in the Ozarks that’s populated with gnomes everywhere you look. And when my husband and I moved east to South Carolina and I had the honor of helping organize the first Carolina Moot, Rod came out to teach workshops and do Spae for the folk. Over the last several months Rod and I started making plans to do a Heathen podcast. We both stayed busy, so it never happened. After the tragic shooting in the Charleston church a few months ago I remember hearing the relatives of the victims tell reporters that they had forgiven the asshole who killed their loved ones. I remember thinking that the dichotomy between christian forgiveness and Germanic revenge would make an interesting topic for the podcast and meant to ask Rod what he thought, but life happened and we never had that conversation. So I’m left wondering, “What would Rod have thought?” I don’t know for sure, but I’d like to think he would have advocated for forgiveness tempered with punishment. Despite how badly he had been treated by some people, he couldn’t stop himself from defending them to a degree. Despite the faults and gross blunders by strangers, he wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt. And people that I know he didn’t like at first, he gave them guidance when they asked. For all his loud and blustery ways, Rod had so much love. Maybe that’s why there’s such a big hole in my heart. I am so very grateful and blessed to have had Rod Landreth as my friend. He was always so proud of my accomplishments and I of his. In honor of Rod and the faith he had in me I will make this oath: I will write a book for the betterment of Heathenry that will be ready for publication by one year from now, August 22, 2016. I offer no shild other than my honor and reputation in our community, and of course, my luck.
Don’t be surprised if I reach out to some of you in the next several months. I plan on interviewing people in our community in the course of my research.