He wanted to hug and touch. I grew tired of that. I wanted compliments and talk. Twenty years we lived together, though the last five were more convenience than couple, longer a pair than we'd been with any others. My old farm house thrived, we built a studio and a shop. I stopped smoking 17 years ago egged on in part by his "old people can't stop!" He never did and it slowly conspired to bring him down.
We split over care for my father. John moved to Ocean Springs without my input. It was past time to split, he was right. And it seemed a good plan for my dad, only John grew very ill, hardly able to leave his room. My father died; John has suffered over a year longer - fortunately under the dear care of his daughters.
I learned how to kill a chicken. I learned about building from footers to roof beams. I learned to abide pintos and mashed potatoes in stead of red beans and rice. I grew fond of butter milk poured over corn bread. But I never liked his Thanksgiving stuffing!
Enough, I want to go work in the garden before it grows too warm; I will come back to this!
Walked to the swimming hole thinking of wild mushrooms, thinking of the fun John and I had in the fall looking for mushrooms. Found what I call a "red hairy", suillus pictus", and marked the spot so that I would find it on the way home. Walking home I found another and Baldwin found another - so I've a celebration dinner in John's memory tonight.
Furthermore, John set the standard for blackberry picking; I can see him in a flannel shirt, his old work pants, belt around his neck with a bucket cut from a milk jug - setting out early in the morning for the bottoms. He had pretty good nerves, drove a dynamite truck all over West Virginia for the mines (lots of two lane roads which consisted of one center paved lane and fairly wide gravel shoulders). I must have grown more volatile than dynamite.
John could sit in a chair in the shade of a tree with his shot gun waiting for the ground hog to show. He was an amazing shot. He shot a wounded deer in the river, in the fog. Baldwin had run home to tell us that he had just been joined on the logging road by a limping deer who veered off into the river. John hustled fast and we got to the river in time to see the deer trying to cross.
Need to toast him with some Jack!