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