Friday, May 25, 2012


I contemplate mortality from time to time.  I don't usually consider it much, since I retain the feeling that i am invincible from my teenage years.  But, from time to time, it comes to mind.  It preys on my happy thoughts and makes me feel mortal.  Another thing that does it is the fact that I have a child, one whom I love beyond all others.  Particularly during this time of year, I get this feeling.

Why do people die?  Why do bad things happen to good people?  Why do bad people get to live so damned long when good people die at the age of 23?  It's not fair, there's no rhyme.  There's no reason.  It's just sad.

My best friend, ever, was James Damon Coder.  He died young.  He was my brother, or may have well have been.  The stories I could tell fade as every year goes by.  I could tell you how he described to me in detail Star Trek the Next Generation episodes that I did not see until years after his death in such detail that when I saw them for the first time I felt I had already seen them.

He died, for undetermined reasons, on June 2, 1997.  It was the early morning hours.  I had spoken to him the day before.  I spoke to him at least daily at the time, and for months afterword, I had the distinct feeling that if I called his number he would answer.  I tested the theory.  He never did.  It hurt.  I know I never explained to him just what a big part of me he had become.  It continues to hurt, some fifteen years later.  The difference is that I don't cry every day.  I cry a few times a year.

This weekend promises to be a good one.  I will spend it with my lovely wife and my beautiful daughter.  Still, mortality is brought closer by the happenings of someone I know.  Or rather someone I should know.  He was recently diagnosed with a tumor.  He has two young sons.  He has about three years, according to the doctors. I can't help but assess my own health and loved ones.  I feel fine, but I have made a doctor's appointment to check me out.

I also recall a particular song.  Johnny Cash sang it prior to his death.  It makes me sad.

But then I think of the rainbow I observed near where Openshaw Road cuts across 149, between Chico and Oroville, California.  I was listening to local radio, returning from classes.  I was thinking of Jim.  This song came on, and there was a rainbow, the likes I have seen never before nor since.  I pulled to the side of the road and stood beside the truck thinking hard of Jim and missing him Oh So Much.  I will never forget that day.

So, while I enjoy the weekend with my wonderful family, I am not lost on the fact that this is but a fleeting moment.  I cherish it always.

May you all have a great weekend.

1 comment:

SpunkyBookworm said...

Thank you for this, Jim. As parents, we do tend to look at our health and life when our children and loved ones depend on us. I'm glad you are.

Jim was a gem. I really look and try to see if I knew a nicer guy there, and he is in my top 3. I will always remember freshmen PE w/ you 2. :D Good times!