My Cousin, Jimmy

I love him. He was a father to me, not taking anything away from my dad. He loved me unconditionally. I wasn’t around him all the time, but yet he was always there. He was love. It felt good.

He and his wife, Evelyn, were so loving and kindhearted. They generously let me be a part of their family. They had two daughters, Leah and Mia.

Jimmy’s heart was this big.

Jimmy – photo by ys

So, here’s the question . . .

I hope this doesn’t sound too macabre. If you could have lunch, sit on the porch or a park bench, or maybe go for a walk with a beloved person (or, for that matter someone who rattled your cage), who is now deceased, who would you like to visit with?

It could be a relative, a celebrity, an artist or musician, writer, or a person of history. It could be a minister or a friend. Anyone. It’s your dream so you get to decide.

I would like to spend time with van Gogh, but what would I say? Not much in common.

I guess I could ask what really happened to his ear, but then there’s that language barrier thing.”

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I choose Jimmy

“Hi Jimmy, oh how I miss you. I wish I could wrap my arms around you; instead, for now I’ll use my heart. It feels so good being with you again. Is this an okay place to hang for a little while? I’ll get you a cup of coffee, still black? I forget.

“I can’t believe you have been gone two and a half years already. Thank you for bringing Bruno. ‘Hi, Sweetie Pie.’

“You remembered he’s my boy, and I appreciate you letting him tag along. Hope stopping by to get him was not too much out of your way. Never know where that cat might be.

“So, how goes things in the heavens? I guess you were ready for some rest or maybe not. Beyond our control, just like anything else.

“Do you get to read? Do you still have a bunch of magazine subscriptions? I remember you saying you took the Evelyn Woods speed reading course twice. Now that’s a person who likes to read.

“I know you would get up at 4:00 and have your coffee and read before you got ready for work. Your alone time. I cherish mine, too.

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“As long as I remember, you always worked for the Communicable Disease Center, and then the name changed to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 1992. I thought your job as a public health advisor sounded so cool. What a nice contribution to our country.

“I wish I knew more because one thing you did was set up labs for the testing of lead in peeling paint in poor and old housing. Children would eat the paint off the walls if I remember correctly.

“One of the other positions you held way back involved something of a sensitive nature. As a government representative, you knocked on door after door asking citizens about their sex lives as far as gonorrhea and syphillis were concerned. This is where your Master’s in Public Health got you!

“I don’t know what the criteria was for who you contacted. Whoever heard of such a job?

“Leah says this is still ongoing. It’s done along the same lines as they use tracking people who have been exposed to Covid — like ‘who has sneezed in your face recently?’

“The lead in paint in places still makes the news now and then. You were so good at that. I remember you gave speeches.

“I said one time I didn’t know how you did that. You responded that as long as you know more about your topic than the audience, things are good.

“My favorite turn of phrase of yours is ’The check is in the mail; will you love me in the morning; and, hi, I’m here from the Government to help you.’ Hilarious to me.

“What’s up with me? and Paul? Oh, not too much. This is the first time I can remember he hasn’t planted anything in the summer. Last year we did have some tomatoes.

“This year he didn’t even do that. You see, the neighbors behind us and to the right put some serious brush and weed killer on their yard. And kill it did.

“Paul was hesitant to plant back there because the water runoff comes straight through our yard. He didn’t want us eating toxic tomatoes. He considered planting in the front yard, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.

“As for me, Jimmy, I’m a sloth. Reading more and exercising less. Watch a little TV, blog. Do daily Spelling Bee on phone.

“Eat junk food, dabble with photography, listen to Amazon Music (awesome!), and love on our animals. And, oh yeah, medical appointments. Grrrr.

“No naps and I seldom sleep in. I find it a splendid way to spend a day. I’ll go for the occasional lunch with friends, and I always enjoy being with them.”

Jimmy – photo by ys

The many things you did for me

“Of course, we could talk all day and never get all those covered.

“My trainer just returned from spending a few days in Washington, D.C. She loved it as much as I did when you and Evelyn took me.

“It was 1971, the summer before my senior year of high school. I so enjoyed that trip. I’m still talking about it. You were going to DC on business.

“It was so nice of you to fly me to Erlanger, our starting point, or did we leave from Elizabethtown? My first time flying. You bought a Diamond Tours bus excursion package for the time we were there.

“I guess this was for us while you were in meetings, but you did catch up now and then. Great way to see the sights!

“Great memory of us riding in the pick-up truck with the camper attached atop. Bathroom and everything. We were living the dream! Even a stove. Enough sleeping area for all of us.

“Remember, you parked the camper at Union Station? We slept right there in the middle of the parking lot. Oh the fun of it. Do you remember?

“What’s that, how’s my health? I’m doing just fine. Struggling a little getting onboard with this aging thing. No hospitalizations. Hopefully, those are history.

“Oh yes, you’re right. It was a big step for me when I finally moved out of your house. Being with you and the family felt like living in a cozy cocoon. It was a wonderful six months.

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“Jimmy, are there cars wherever you are that you’re allowed to work on? You just loved working on cars. Before Paul, you were the one who looked after my car. How kind was that! I hope there’s someplace where you can get your hands greasy.”

So long

“Is it time to go already? How about another quick cup of joe? That’s okay, know you gotta go.

“Again, thank you for bringing Bruno. It has been great being in your and Bruno’s presence. Boy, I do so miss you. And man, I miss my boy, too.

Bruno, photo and printing by ys

“I enjoyed reminiscing. I hope you did. Please relay to Evelyn, Mia, and Mariah a hello from Paul and me.

“I check in with Leah now and then. She’s always thinking of you and misses you a lot. She says she’s happy because that is what you want for us.

“Certainly, will be happy to pass along your regards to Paul. He sure enjoys using your old compressor. That monster can make a heap of noise.

“Thank you Jimmy for everything. I love you. My life is better because you lived and now you live within me. Bye Jimmy. Bye Bruno Uno. Peace.”

Namaste 🙏

Thank you so very much for reading. As always, I do love your comments. Please, feel free.

💙💛

10 comments

    1. Thank you, Peer, for your kind words. Jimmy’s a great guy and is definitely missed by me.

      Trust you and yours are well.

      Thank you for reading and appreciate your comment.

      As always,
      Yvonne

    1. Hi Ada, I do like your choice of word — comforting. You’re right — it’s the little stuff.

      Thank you for reading and leaving a comment.

      Warmly,
      Yvonne

  1. For me it would be my Daddy who died right after my 15th birthday. I would have so much to tell him, especially how my son looks just like him, his love for poetry and writing was always so beautiful and how his love for Jesus was passed on to his children. He also had a beautiful tenor voice, and while in the Navy, he once filled in for Perry Como when he suddenly got sick and couldn’t perform.So many stories to tell him, and I’m sure he has stories and advise for me too A day doesn’t pass when I don’t think of him. So happy you had that one person who touched your heart and life in such a special way, Jimmy sounds like he was a great man with a loving heart. ♥️

    1. Judy, I never knew you were so young when your dad passed away nor did I know how close you two were. I definitely remember him. Subbing for Perry Como? — get outta here! What an experience. Oh, the stories he could share with you. One day.

      Writing this post is one of the hardest I’ve written. Editing and the re-reads over and over. I cried every time I worked on it. So now that sadness has passed for the time being.

      Thank you for being a loyal reader. Your comments are always appreciated.

      Warmly,
      Yvonne

  2. This touched my heart, too, because I had Aunt Virginia who took me to Canada after she and my Uncle John bought an old farmhouse near where my dad and his family grew up. Remind me to tell you how that came about). Like your Uncle Jimmy, AV and Uncle John were very important in my growing-up years. They had 3 boys, so I was the daughter they never had, and I felt so special (being one of 6 children myself). Aunts and uncles are special, and I try to be a good aunt for all my nieces and nephews. Thanks for reminding me of that…

    1. Hi Judy, being at a farmhouse in Canada sounds pretty cool. I know your aunt and uncle loved you lots and made the farmhouse a wonderful place to be.

      Thank you for reading and leaving a comment. Hope to see you soon.

      Best to you,
      Yvonne

  3. This was a very sweet read. I would like to sit on a bench and talk to my Dad. I would ask him about my son and my nephew too in heaven. Also, their dogs Rascal and Diggy are with them.

    I would ask what is it like in heaven, is he pain free, etc.
    Mostly, to ask if he regretted not getting help sooner for his alcoholism.

    Mostly, just to live in that minute and listen to his words.♥️

    He was the sweetest man on earth.

    1. Hi Lona, it is wonderful to hear what a great relationship you had with your dad. There are so many people who are deceased that I think I would enjoy, be it family or otherwise. As human beings, we struggle and endure pain and loss. It would be so nice talking to people who made a positive impact on my life. Don’t know why I wasn’t talking about stuff while they were here. I guess I never really realized they’d be gone one day.

      You said it best, “Mostly, just to live in that minute and listen to his words ❤️“

      Like you say, we definitely would have to check on the pets we’ve had throughout our lives.

      Thank you for reading, Lona, and thank you for leaving a comment.

      Love,
      Yvonne

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