Cambrian: Opinion

The embodiment of community: Larger-than-life Cambria man remembered

Kelly Cannon, left, shares a light moment with Earl Moon at a “thank you” party last year for friends and community members who helped the Moons achieve some sense of normalcy after he became a quadriplegic three years ago.
Kelly Cannon, left, shares a light moment with Earl Moon at a “thank you” party last year for friends and community members who helped the Moons achieve some sense of normalcy after he became a quadriplegic three years ago. Courtesy photo

More and more, I take time to reflect on what I’ve learned from those who are passing away in what feels right now like droves. For those of you here in Cambria and on the Central Coast, you’ll perhaps do the same for Earl Moon, who left us Nov. 11 after struggling with the complications of quadriplegia.

If ever there was a town that embodied “community,” it is Cambria. We may vote differently or worship differently, but when the chips are down, we ante up. You all did that for our friend, Earl. Three years ago, after a fall, he became a quadriplegic and his devoted wife, Jan, became his full-time caregiver, advocate and more. (She really should write a book about the challenges of insurance systems, health systems and the fight for decent care! There was almost not a day went by that Jan wasn’t on the phone looking for services, which is challenging in this county.)

Jan and their children, Westin and Skyler, invite you now to celebrate Earl one more time, to thank you for all your support over these years both financially and emotionally, at 11 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 1, at 2420 Langton in Cambria for a BBQ and refreshments. Bring a side dish to share. The Moon’s have always been about sharing. And gathering. And celebrating… whatever.

I have a yearly summer party that was just never the same (won’t be) if Earl and Jan couldn’t be there. He was one of those people who just made you smile. Especially if you overheard him telling a whopper to some unsuspecting soul just nodding their head in amazement or they saw him dressed as a tacky Chippendale’s dancer, as Elvis or as Fred Flintstone. He was not afraid to dress up or put himself out there to get a reaction — the soft-spoken comedian.

That was also his way of teaching — his kids, his colleagues, his friends, of which he had countless. From coaching his kids in about every sport and encouraging all the kids, he touched many, many lives. That was Earl. Kind, patient, inclusive, tolerant. Yep.

He did have wonderful true stories and was such a vast wealth of facts about the Central Coast, about birds, about water systems and other things too numerable to mention. He was, in fact, the “Water Guy” for Hearst Castle, Ragged Point and Hearst Ranch. When Earl first had his accident and it came to light they were going to need some help, we all put our heads together.

Someone launched an online fundraiser, many friends stepped in and volunteered skills and time to modify their Lodge Hill home to accommodate all Earl’s equipment, and still others worked on a perennial favorite in this town — a drive through dinner. Stephen Hearst offered meat for a BBQ, and all the other parts fell into place.

I mean, Earl was “Daddio,” “Big Daddy” and just the guy you would ask if you wanted to know… anything. Growing up in Morro Bay, he spent much of his time outdoors observing, learning, appreciating. He never lost that. Reading, camping, growing a spectacular garden with his wife, living in Hawaii for some time, all made him who he was, who he was loved as being.

And even those of you who never knew those things about him, how much he was a part of the fabric of the Central Coast, still pitched in at those drive-thru barbeques or Go Fund Me fundraisers.

So, I hope to see you Saturday, Dec. 1. Bring an instrument (jams were big at the Moon house) to celebrate an old hippie, a lover-of-life, a husband, a father, a brother, a mentor… a good friend. And reflect on what family and community means and how we must continue to be together in love.

To just… celebrate and reflect.

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