There's rosemary, that's for remembrance.
William Shakespeare: Hamlet, Prince of Denmark

Friday, December 01, 2006

This one is for John

I made a comment on a blog yesterday...The Boomer Chronicles. It is a neat site, fun without competition and great information and trivia.

My comment was about a list of calories burned relative to an activity. My response was about vacuuming, my favorite sport. That got me thinking about my friend John. John died of lung cancer in February 2005.

I inherited John from my husband. They had been friends since grammer school. I met John in 1989. He was living in a shack with a woman and they were both in the same shape; alcoholics, no jobs, dirty, and bad teeth. John however, had a glorious, dry sense of humor. John could be forgiven for any action because of that sense of humor.

John called himself a gutter drunk and made no apologies for his lifestyle. He said it was a life lived on the edge with every day being one of risk, adventure and trying to panhandle enough money to stay shit faced. He had been married and divorced several times, had no children and no obligations other than the multiple DUI infractions that he eventually paid for with jail time. He possessed a variety of junk cars at times, the most memorable one being an old Datsun with no floor boards, no windows but a motor that ran, 4 wheels with tires and a seat and steering wheel.

John met his last wife through a strange set of events.....he was house sitting for a good buddy while that buddy was in the hospital dying from alcoholic liver disease. It was while housesitting that John became sober. The buddy died, his ex wife and daughter came up to settle the buddie's estate, the ex met John, they fell in love and eventually married.

John had not had a main stream job for over 20 years. When he moved to Sandpoint he was a house painter, had money, built a home, bought a car, had thousands of dollars in paint equipment and he lost it all to beer and lost it fast. After he married for the last time, his role became that of a once in a while house painter for good money and he was the ultimate house husband. John cooked, gardened, built a deck, managed the snow in winter, just did it all around the house.

John was opinionated and I never talked politics with him. He told the truth as he saw it...told it about himself and others. If someone was offended, well too bad. He wasn't hurtful, but if I had some ugly sox on, he told me but using his great humor..."Hey Rosemary, did you get a deal on those sox at Goodwill? I'll have to see if I can get Barb a pair like that and see if she divorces me!"

He was a true and faithful friend. The man that helped him get sober was not the best role model for sobriety and being drug free, but John never forgot the gift of sobriety help he received from this man and defended him no matter what. My husband "hired" John for a variety of odd jobs at our crazily built home so John would have smoke money when he was not painting. My husband has NEVER thrown out one journal, magazine, file or any other piece of paper he ever had and John boxed those papers and journals and hauled them from one garage bay shelf to another time after time. John called his work for my husband his 401K.
My love for John besides all of the wonder of his personality? He loved to vacuum. The one joy we shared and, yes we said it out loud, was seeing the vacuum design patterns newly left on a carpeted floor...and it really pissed him off if someone walked on it too soon....wife, friend, dog or critter. I really, really miss John.

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