Sunday, March 15, 2009

Missing Jim Et Al

Before "Internet" was a household word and a virtual necessity there were the 1200 baud modem and local BBS operators who provided simple online services for the cost of a phone call. "Bear" was one of them who operated "The Den BBS" which I hooked up to almost 20 years ago. One day while I was posting something on one of the chat boards Bear popped into live chat with me. He liked my style, he said, and as we typed back and forth we discovered that we practically lived around the corner from each other. I visited his home later that same day and within time he and his wife became very close friends with us. We spent a number of New Years Eves together with them and throughout each year we traded off hosting dinners and evenings of just hanging out.

The four of us heralded 1998 together never dreaming that by summer Jim would be taken from us after fighting a hard and futile battle with a fast moving cancer. He was 53, only two years older than I just turned last week, and on the night he died the task of shutting down The Den BBS forever fell to me. Though I'm not much of a cemetery visitor, now and then I need to visit the top of that hill where five of Jim's other friends and I carried him to his final resting place. I still need to talk to him and ask for his advice and although he can't provide it as soundly as he once used to regularly, I find the same kind of peace when I'm there where he's interred that I used to find in our conversations. My words to him now are punctuated with my tears and the kicks of the toe of my boot into the dirt. More than anybody else I've lost to death, I miss Jim and the unique kind of friendship we shared. It can't be replaced.

It was on the way back home from the top of Jim's hill that I realized what I miss so much about riding at this time of year - the people. During the summer when I'm bopping around the valley on the scooter there are people everywhere doing all sorts of things, and I love watching them and exchanging frequent smiles with them as I ride by. Now mostly I see people moving between their cars and wherever it is that they're going and the joy of my rolling about on two wheels is diminished by their haste to get indoors. I miss the little kids with ice cream cones, the old folks who walk hand in hand together, the goth kids who are always good for a chuckle, and even the skateboarders who have to be admired for falling more than they ride but getting up time and time again and trying to stay upright. Soon may the winter of my discontent be made glorious summer!


irondad said...

I'm sorry about Jim. May both your souls find peace.

I have opportunity to stop at very large malls between business appointments. People watching is still alive and well indoors.

When I'm riding I only see people as blurs, anyway!

Lance said...

Thank you for your post. It got me thinking of my friends who have passed on too soon (at least too soon for my limited knowledge). Thanks for reminding us to remember those who have moved on, and to celebrate those who are still around us.