• Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • Categories

  • Meta

John Stories

Sunday morning.  I stood in my closet choosing clothes for church when the phone rang.  “Susan, do you have a minute to talk?” my college roommate asked.  I sat down as she spoke.  John, her husband of 40 years, was breathing his last breaths.  John, whose doctor had just a few days before declared his heart valve replacement a great success and told him to carry on with normal life.  John, who had planned an evening out with friends to celebrate.  His passing was quick.

I first loved John because Jo Ann loved him.  She and I had shared a 10’ x 12’ dormitory room for three years at Tennessee Tech University.  Sisters by choice.  In 1972, I stood beside Jo Ann when she and John promised to love each other until parted by death.  For four days, I stood behind Jo Ann while she made difficult decisions and received condolences.  And I heard stories.

A ten-year old neighbor boy hugged Jo Ann and said, “I liked when he threw the ball with me.  I’ll miss him.”  The next-door neighbor cried as he told me that just two days before he and John had stood in their driveways.  “He hugged my girls (ages 2 and 3) and said ‘How fast can you run?’  When they ran to him, he laughed and told then they could run faster.  The girls wrapped their arms around his legs and John pretended to fall.  He made everybody laugh.”

Jan and John had an on-going joke about birds flying overhead.  John didn’t want to sit at the outside restaurant table under a tree.  Surely there was a place inside for six people to eat dinner that May evening.  Jan teased him that his bald head would be a perfect target, but she’d make sure that birds didn’t deposit anything on it.  When John turned his back to her, Jan poured water into her hand and dumped it on his head.  John stood, hollered words that his mother would’ve washed out of his mouth, and swiped his head with a cloth napkin.  His friends laughed, and John laughed loudest.

Only his generous heart surpassed John’s sense of humor.  January 1976, a snowstorm hit the Nashville area at rush hour and immediately turned roads into parking lots.  My fifteen- month-old daughter, Alicia, and I were stranded on a neighborhood street, miles away from our home on the other side of Davidson County.  After two hours, my new best friends, whose cars were parked on the snow-covered, icy street, pushed my car into a driveway and watched as I knocked on a stranger’s door.  I asked to use her phone and stay inside her warm house.  The snow finally stopped and the main roads were cleared.  John left his workplace in downtown Nashville.  He drove out of his way to rescue Alicia and me from a stranger’s house and took us to his and Jo Ann’s home.  Midnight supper never taste so good.

‘John stories,’ Jo Ann calls them.  Stories that remind me to laugh and hug.  Stories that make me happy that John was my friend.  Stories that help heal hurting hearts.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: