I first "met" him in the mid 1990s, when I wrote a snarky column about pseudo-Christian right wing welfare reform/poor bashing efforts that quoted William Blake:
Perry sent me a similar column of his own where Blake played a role. I guess it was the start of a literary/political long distance bromance.
THE VISION OF CHRIST that thou dost see Is my vision’s greatest enemy... Both read the Bible day and night, But thou read’st black where I read white.
Over the years, I became a huge fan of his writing and thoughts, which have now been compiled in at least two books, Mann and Nature and Secular Mann. We didn't agree about everything. I leaned more to the religious side of things that the skeptical Mann and chose to believe in at least some free will while he was a pretty strict determinist, but I always felt like we were on the same side.
A few years back, my friend Ted Boettner and I visited his home town of Hinton and dropped by to see him at his book lined law office with the votive offering of a bottle of wine..
Nonbeliever though he was, we asked him to bestow a biblical style patriarchal blessing on us and he graciously agreed. I'm glad we asked. It really was a blessing.
I'd really like to think that he's pleasantly surprised right now not to have blinked to extinction.
Hamlet gets the last word:
"He was a man. Take him for all in all. I shall not look upon his like again."