Saturday, March 18, 2017

Ode to JJ

Jackie went to Targhee this weekend
to watch Howie’s freeride skiing competition
We haven’t had a day apart since first diagnosis
And the angels keep coming
Our home has become a revolving door of love
People in the Big Sky community keep showing up
to help take care of me or just to see me

Right now I am sitting with Kristin and JJ 
Kristin is typing this for me
I just noticed how pretty her necklace was and complimented her
And JJ said “are you hitting on my wife”
I said, “Of course I am, we have done handstands together.
I bet you never have done that with her”

The other day, I was taking a walk outside 
with Jackie and Kathy House
Drive Around Dan was driving by and pulled over
said to me “you are the best, you are the best, 
you are the best, you are the best”
got out of the car and walked with us
Dan and know each other for the entire time that
I have been in Big Sky, over 23 years,
but we don’t really know each other that well
There he is stopping his day and walking with me for an hour
He lent me the first wine book that I ever read
It was all about the history of Napa Valley
After reading that book, I was hooked
and I have read many wine books since.

I sometimes wonder about my place in the Big Sky community
I have often been reminded about how grumpy I could be at work
Jackie would often explain to people that I was just working hard
Some of my best friend’s first memories of me 
are about me being mean
My buddy Josh often recalls the first time we met when he asked me
where the tomatoes were
I walked over to him and said “right here in front of you”
he says he bought his tomatoes and ran
At the same time, others tell me
how their first experience on arriving to Big Sky was the Hungry Moose
how they fondly recall the days of the old Moose
when we could stand around and visit 
for over an hour without interruption

I wrote this poem for JJ after our employee party back in December
JJ joined the festivities wearing a sweatsedo and got the idea to get me one too:

Ode to J.J.

20 years ago, a young man from Pennsylvania
arrived to Big Sky
first stop Hungry Moose

his parents owned a natural food and supplements store
which he grew up in
he was coming to Big Sky
to teach elementary school
we talked and talked about teaching and retail

10 years later after J.J. had taught all 3 of my boys
in the 4th grade
we ran into each other at the bar
and shared shot after shot
and laugh after laugh

I’ve watched him make friends,
I’ve watched him get married
I’ve watched him become a father
I’ve watched him become a man, a town leader, a mensch

During middle school basketball I ran the scoreboard  and he coached
During high school football I ran the scoreboard and he announced

he has become famous for his sweat suits
and just yesterday he sent my son Howie home
with one for me

I wear it with pride

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