Once again we face the reality of life and what comes afterwards. The life of our friend Larry Jackson ended this afternoon as he battled a number of serious health issues.
I guess I probably first met Larry some 50 or so years ago, lost touch for several decades and then reconnected here on Facebook about 10 years ago. It wasn’t always a nice and cordial relationship between Larry and me. We were polar opposites when it came to politics, but I won’t even go into that. It really doesn’t matter.
Somewhere along the way Larry unfriended me over those differences. We lost touch for a few more years. He was living and working out in Odessa at that time. Then about 4 years I heard he had moved back to the area. All I knew was he was living in an RV out at Kingsland. Not having a cell number for him I went on a quest to find him. I even attempted to get several of our joint friends to encourage him to re-friend me on FB. Our 45th high school reunion was coming up and I thought he may want to go.
After a couple of trips to Kingsland searching (do you have any idea how many RV Parks there are in and around Kingsland?) I finally located him. I walked up to his door and rapped on it. That trip he only spoke to me through the window screen that was next to the door. We talked for a few minutes and I told him about the upcoming reunion. I asked him to get back on FB with me so I could add him to our class reunion group. He agreed to. I gave him my phone number but he never offered to give me his.
The next trip I made to visit Larry I took him an Angora Chronicles book. I guess he felt it would be rude to have me leave it on the little table outside, so he opened to door to receive it. We visited for awhile but I didn’t go in. Our relationship was getting better but he still seemed a bit dubious about my coming to see him.
When the time came around for the reunion, he wasn’t feeling well, so he was unable to attend.
We message each other for awhile. He had mentioned along the way that he no longer had a yearbook from our Senior Year. It had disappeared in a move or a divorce. He wasn’t sure where. When our classmate Elaine Holland was getting ready to move from Texas to Colorado a while back she needed to downsize moving into a condo, so she entrusted several school mementos to me. She hoped I could find good homes for it.
Larry came to mind so I took her senior annual to Larry. He seemed thrilled to have it.
Even though we could never have been considered close friends from school or thereafter, our friendship began to blossom and bear fruit. It occurred to me that Larry was living a lonely existence. His only brother, living in Marble Falls was dealing with his own health issues. Larry mostly stayed in that RV only occasionally getting out for something medical related or a trip to HEB. Our visits on messenger became more frequent. I finally got his cell number and we started talking. Our conversations were never very deep. Mostly carrying on about how great we each were. He shared a couple of his music CD’s with me. I was amazed at what a great singing voice he had possessed not too many years ago. He was also a guitar playing son of a gun.
As his health worsened he started asking more and more of me. Over the months we made a few trips to the ER. He would also let me grocery shop for him. I enjoyed humoring him with making sure I got exactly what he ordered. He was pretty demanding, oh by the way. I would laugh it off. At least I wasn’t sitting cooped up in an RV all the time.
As strange as it all seems, he became one of my best friends. The oddest of odd couples. I felt honored that our friendship had taken such an odd turn of events. It has made me understand that as trying as times can be, nothing is better than having a friend you can lean on. We never know when we’ll need to do a little leaning ourselves.
Larry, just be ready to serenade all those pretty gals once again in Heaven. They’ll love it.
I see that the way this is written that I’m must be asking for a lot of back pats. That wasn’t my intention. I just wanted to highlight that sometimes a person has to go an extra mile to make up for past wrongs or attitudes. And if you do that, you will be enriched beyond measure.
Sometimes that person that is the hardest to reach, the most difficult to get next to, is the very person that needs you the most.