Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Good-bye old friend

It’s almost eerily ironic that Jim Hall passed away while Cynthia and I were out of town a little over a week ago. I have always considered Jim a good friend. The Class of ’65 was always close and I have always tried to be there for one of my classmates in whatever way I could.

The Class of ’65 has lost way too many – either 19 or 20, at last count -- over the years. To be so young, in my mind, is too young to die. We’re at an age, however, that often we might feel it is best to die at times, rather than go on suffering in sickness. Jim probably felt that way and sure enough when it came time to join the Lord, he was ready. His neighbors said when he was going to have to go in the hospital again, Jim refused and said he was ready to die.

Last January, when Cynthia and I attended a memorial service in Poteau for another friend, Grace Coggins Kidwell, Jim and his wife Judy were there. Jim said he was so glad to see me. I said it was good to see him, too. He said, “No John, you don’t understand. It’s really good to see you, because when you didn’t send out an obit for Billy Martinez this week, we worried something may have happened to you, so I’m real glad to see you.” Billy Martinez, another classmate, had passed away in a Heavener nursing home that very week. I had been emailing Heavener obits when I come across them in my daily newspaper website searches. Well, that week Cynthia and I had been camping in Lake Texoma and decided to come straight to Poteau. We hadn’t been home that week for me to send out Billy’s obit. I had made it a habit for so long, folks had come to expect it. I had people tell me that when they received an email from me, they knew it was probably another obit and they were almost afraid to open it and see who had died this time.

The past three weeks, Cynthia and I have been camping at Lake Medina, near San Antonio, for the arrival of our latest grandson. Unfortunately, Cynthia had unexpectedly returned to Tyler for a funeral. While she was home, she got a call about Jim. Knowing I would want to attend Jim’s funeral, she checked on plane flights and wondered how I could get back to be in attendance. She wanted to go, too, because Judy, her sister Kathy and Jim’s sister Linda were her friends as well. We had talked the situation over before she left to come back to Tyler, knowing Jim’s time was near. Jim had been sick since early in the year and I had been receiving phone calls with updates on him from John Locke, his neighbor.

When we first heard of Jim’s cancer earlier this year, I tried to arrange for a class reunion in the fall so we could all see Jim again. Some of the girls, pardon me, ladies, decided it wouldn’t be in the best interest. Of course, they were right. Jim wouldn’t have wanted it that way. So, I missed his funeral and didn’t even get to email his obit to classmates. For that, I apologize. Just know that he will be missed.


At November 11, 2009 at 5:44 AM , Blogger Kathy Bain Dunn said...

John, we will admit to you -- we wondered once again if maybe something had happened to you. I knew you had gone to San Antonio, just didn't know you were planning to stay 3 weeks. The pictures Cynthia posted of that grandson are just awesome!!

At November 11, 2009 at 7:49 AM , Blogger Glen Lazalier said...

Glad to have you back writing again. The class of '59 seems to have been blessed with long life. I think we have about 15 deceased out of a total of about 75.


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