The Last Cowboy

So it’s December, sue me. I figured it’d be good to lighten the mood with the Windows XP Ninja Turtles stuff. Still, I have one more story that I want to get through. Bear with me.

Dennis was a friend of the family. He loved model trains, history, and old movies. He always wore blue jeans and button downs, like a cowboy from one of the Louis L’Amour novels he used to read. He was full of stories, because he had a checkered past. Some of it he regretted, and some of it he was proud of. In a lot of ways, he was what I imagine when I think of a man. Not all the BS masculinity crap, he was a skinny dude in his mid 50’s when I met him. But when he said he’d do something, it was as good as done, and he’d do anything to help a friend. He had this knack for being there when you needed him, and he always had an air of quiet strength, not just physical, but emotional.

Then he got sick. Cancer. I remember the last time I saw him, laying in a hospital bed. His face was thin and drawn, and he knew he was on the way out. As we were leaving, he asked me to stay behind for a moment. He shook my hand, and said “You have to take care of things now.” I promised that I would. He died two weeks later, and his sister asked me to be a pallbearer in his funeral. I’d never done it before, and I was terrified I’d mess it up. I stood there in my rumpled shirt and tie with the rest of his family, hands sweating, and realized that the rest of them were just as shaken as I was. I did my duty, and laid him to rest.

I don’t think about Dennis, Arvi, and Pierre all the time, but I do it pretty often. I’ve changed a lot since they passed, and I wonder if they’d be proud of me. I wonder how my life would be different if they were still around. There are times when I know I need them, and I miss them.

For me, that’s what Movember is about. Not growing moustaches, raising money, or even cancer research. It’s about doing right by them, and by the people I have now. It’s about reminding people, including myself, that looking after your health doesn’t just benefit you, but everyone you know. One day you’re not going to be around anymore, and if possible, I’d like to keep that as far in the future as possible, so you can watch the people around you become who they’re supposed to be.

Those are my Movember stories. What are yours?

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Jim, what a wonderful story. Dennis truly was Fantastic man. I loved his visits, talking with him, I truly enjoyed him. Your Uncle Arvi is very proud of you. He always was. He believed in your abilities and your protential, which was a little scary for awhile. He believed in the person inside, and would be very proud of the wonderful man you have become. As would Uncle Pierre, and Dennis.

  2. I think you’re right, they would be. I just wish they were here to see it.

Leave a Reply to Anne Tigwell Cancel reply

Close Menu