Here Comes James

There I stood in the home office section of Target weeping.  Tears dripping into a waste basket, but those tears were not wasted.  Each one was a good memory, of a smile, of a laugh once shared with a good man I have always thought of as a second father.  I was on the phone with James’ wife learning my friend only had days to live.

I first met JJamesames at Public Service Company of Oklahoma when I was 19 years old.  It didn’t take long to realize I had met someone sillier than me.  James, a big man, with a big heart to make others laugh and for God.  He loved to pull pranks on people.  Like the time he got his wife to put icing on a board he had cut the size of a birthday cake.  James; usually smiling, usually laughing, and always there to mentor.  He taught me the one thing college didn’t; how to have fun at work.  At this he was truly a professional.

James was one of the first to support my decision to leave a good career and move to Massachusetts to become a youth minister.  Our friendship had grown strong.  The first Christmas after I had moved he sent a card signed and dated.  The following year I signed it, dated it and sent it back to him.  This became a tradition until I lost the card two years ago.  That same card had crisscrossed America for 30 years.  At last count it had traveled over 23,000 miles.  Now I wasn’t losing a card, but a friend.

What started out as a sunny day emotionally, turned cloudy.  I will miss him and for always cherish his silly antics.  Heaven must be in need of more laughter, because here comes James.

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