I feel like I should be writing something about you, Jay. That’s what I do. I write to express emotion, I write to stay sane and, among other things, I write to grieve.
Usually, things will start to formulate when something needs to come out, I’ll get snippets rattling around my brain. When I’ve amassed enough snippets that stick, then I sit down and try to sort through them and put them in proper order. But I’m having trouble with you. Big surprise, right. Most people who knew you thought that “Trouble” might have been your middle name. And they loved you for that.
I know when I’m sitting here trying to think of more to say, I’ll feel like I haven’t done you justice and that will be true. I’ll do my best, though and hope you already know all the things that I don’t mention.
I believe I met you first when I went to work at the courthouse in the Civil Division. You instantly took me under your wing, you never made me feel like a bother, but like I was doing you a favor by letting you train me. You took me over to get my work car from the person I was replacing. He was dying of cancer and you made what could have been a most uncomfortable situation, much more comfortable.
You did things like that. You made things easier for people on one hand, even while you were razzing the hell out of them on the other hand. Teaching seemed to come natural and easy to you. I never felt like a bad student, even when I asked you the same question over and over. Yes, you razzed me about it, but in such a good-hearted way that it never stung.
You told me who to trust and who not to trust. You were right on every one. You showed me how to drop serve someone, and I still laugh at the look on their face.
I wish I could do a traffic stop on you, just to talk. The same way you used to do to me, and others when you saw us driving through Williston. I wish I could know that the next time I’m eating breakfast at Hilltop, you’ll come walking in and comment on how it’s nice that there’s a restaurant in town that will serve anybody. The waitress will ask you if you want coffee and you’ll say, “No Ma’am, I’m driving.”
I wish we could be sitting down on the end of Fourth Street using the Laser Radar to clock dogs, or trees, or people on bicycles or just about anything else that was moving.
I wish we were sitting on your porch up in Cherokee, watching the creek go by. I know you loved that place.
I will always wish I spent more time with you. I’m sure I missed out on so much by not making more time for you. That will be a sadness I will carry for a very long time.
You always called me “Ugly” and some of the times I remember most were arguing over who was the ugliest. Well, it turns out you were right, I was ugliest, because you Sir, were a beautiful man. I love you and even though we haven’t spent a lot of time together lately, I miss you already.
Just so you don’t feel weird about all this, let me just say……Damn, you’re ugly!
Rest in Peace, Brother.