No One Here Gets Out Alive 4 comments

Posted by grampa in the real shit (Monday July 3, 2006 at 7:59 pm)

Happy Independence Day, everyone.

When I was a young boy, I had a friend.  His name was James A. Jones, Jr.  We called him Jay Jay.  He was, for lack of a better term, my godfather.  He was much older than I, probably by twenty-five years or more.  He was a tall black man, a war veteran and, like my father, he smoked a pipe.  The only photo that I have of him is a black and white photograph my mother took in our kitchen one Fourth of July.  Jay Jay dated a woman who was my godmother and thus became my de facto godfather for several years.  We shared a love of fireworks and three years in a row, on the fourth of July, we put on a large fireworks display for the entire neighborhood.  I would save money all year for this event.  Whatever I had saved, he would match and we would buy a big shitload of fireworks, have a bar-b-que and blow some shit up.

For whatever reason, and I am certain that he had them, Jay Jay chose to take his own life.  I believe I was twelve.  I have never forgotten him.

Every year on Independence Day I would always raise a toast to his memory.  This is only the third year that I have been clean on this holiday, which was once my most debauchery filled weekend of my using life.  Last year I called my brother in Texas and had a quiet moment with him on the phone recalling our old friend.

This year, to honor his memory, I will go to the beach with some friends and celebrate life.  I will remember him and cry, as I am doing right now.  I will remember him, untainted by booze or drugs, as the beautiful man who helped shape my childhood.  And I will miss him deeply. 

For my friends that are out there, raise a glass to those far away.  To those of you who do that sort of thing, offer up a prayer for the fallen.

And, while you’re at it, offer one up for those of us who have to carry on without them.

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