My husband's good friend John passed away yesterday--He and his wife Dana, have kept a creative blog following John's travails with Leukemia.
I knew John through my husband. They go back to Jr. high where John walked up to Mike at the beginning of a class--Mike was sitting at his desk, probably in one of the rooms on the top floor of the building. John grabbed Mike's books off his desk and said, "I'm gonna throw your books out the window!" Mike said, "You do, and I'm throwing you out the window!" They were friends from then on.
These two guys had numerous adventures, crazy, wild, things I wouldn't dream of doing, but I did go along on this one...
This was 32 years ago in Rhode Island--August 1978, The Block Island surfing adventure! After ferrying to the island with surfboards and one big canvas bag of food and clothes, we hiked across the island--we lugged across pastures; one with a bull, who was not too happy to share his territory--we hustled with bright colored surfboards--I carried the bag--clamored over fences, trying to make a bee line to the surf on the rugged side of the island
It was hot--John has his shirt over his head--they stopped to adjust their grips on their boards to finally make it down to the water. It was a good day--I watched as they caught wave after wave--timing it just right, so they could ride the same wave, one going left the other right, then both jumping, diving, plunging off their boards before they crashed!
This picture was taken many years later--now in CA I'd call this one, "Men in an Awkward Descent Down a Rocky Trail"
From the foreground up, Mike, Earl, John and Paul
August 1999, Camping at Big Sur. Good friends Earl and Chris came out and we all gathered together in Big Sur
John's on the right, my son and John's son on the left (I think they're having a good time!)
John and his Wife Dana, 1989
Sorry about the red lines--I tried wiping them out in photo-shop, but I couldn't do it.
I could go on and tell of how, back in high school I was intimidated by John--he was popular, intelligent, witty and kind of scary with his teeth clenching smile and flashing eyes--like he could bite your head off and spit it out before you knew what was happening, but I'll let him tell it with his poem that he wrote just a few weeks before he passed.
Who I Was
There was a time,
in my youth,
when I was the flash of lightning you didn’t see,
except that the room lit up.
I was the scent of pine trees and sage
riding in on a hot wind from the south.
You smelled it and it was sweet but vague.
I was the river that you could not ford,
and the forest of Bishop pine and redwoods,
the paw prints in the forest by the stream.
I was all the honey and cinnamon and mustard,
fresia and roses and periwinkle, cats and dogs and birds,
but of course they all were consumed.
Now I am here, stripped of my nature,
just pain and bleeding and heartache,
reaching out to my death with
weak and mangled hands,
not wanting to touch it,
yet reaching and reaching.