A piece of my childhood has died.
And I want to take a minute to remember. Think. And smile.
This is my eulogy.
He met my father when he rode his horse into the bar my father owned.
They were friends ever after.
He didn’t like weddings or funerals.
I never saw him wear a tie.
He was hard working. He was hard working at hard work.
He was part of the friend crew who helped my father build the last house my father would ever live in. The house my father closed his eyes in for the last time here on earth.
He liked his beer. He and dad shared many many many beers. And laughs. And beers.
Once when helping excavate my father’s property he spent an entire day in the hot sun getting the land ready. In the evening he and dad shared more of those beers they enjoyed so much. Then he thought it a good idea to let dad get on his bulldozer and play around. He laughed, and told us to let dad be, as dad tore up all of the work he had spent all day working on.
One day he showed up at the house and rang the doorbell. I snuck to the front door as he was staring down the street waiting for someone to let him in. I sprung through the door with a banshee yell. He jumped and I was surprised at how much I was able to catch him off guard. The door hit his wrist and broke his watch. He was so scared. And he laughed. Not saying a word to me about the watch.
I sat around campfires as he and my father and the other “men folk” talked work, and beer, and work.
He seemed to be friends with everyone and all kinds. He was a role model before I knew what a role model was. Doing for others, helping them out, and having fun at life.
He was good to my dad. My mom. Me and my siblings.
I cooked a full course meal as a very young teenager once. He had parked his semi by the electric pole where my father was building the house. I had electric skillets to cook on. No running water. He told me that day, and many times after, that the best meal he ever had was the one I cooked single handedly off the back of a semi and I didn’t even have a kitchen. Or a pot. I still remember what I made. City chicken. And all of the fixin’s. That compliment has stayed with me forty years.
His sandy brown hair was always ruffled, he wore jeans and working man shirts.
There are plenty more stories. And every one of them make me smile. I’ve thought of him often and fondly.
He was a good man.
I hope he and dad are sitting together sharing some more beers. And stories. And laughs. And more beers.
God bless you John.
You were a good man.