Tuesday, March 29, 2011

In Memory of Jack

Two years ago on March 29 it was a Sunday. The phone rang in the morning. Early, but not too early. It was Nila. "We lost Jack this morning," she said. I can't believe he's been gone that long. I remember beers at the Ramada Inn on Dallas Love Field in 1977. I remember a flight over north Texas in a Piper Cherokee 140, N6341W. I remember dinner at a cafe across the way from the Hooters in the Atlanta Underground. I remember the conversation we had there. How Jack told me he was doing after the war: the imponderable implications of having taken human life. Perhaps quite a lot of it. Jack flew a Cobra. He also flew Hueys when he wasn't on a direct combat mission. He flew all he could to stay out of base camp where the drinking was non-stop. People didn't have to think so much about what they were doing that way. I remember the conversation we had a few years later at an Applebee's in Fayetteville, or thereabouts. Jack told me what he would do if he were in my situation where a family member had been wounded by another person in ways we can't talk about. I remember a rainy night in Georgia in a restored '67 Valiant convertible with an intermittent electrical system. I remember Jack's love of books, flying and his friends. I remember Jack's skepticism about religious types but his trust and honor of me. We could talk about anything, and we did. In his last e-mail to me a week before he died, Jack wrote that knowing me was one of the highlights of his life. It's one of the best things anyone ever said to me. I'll never forget it. Ditto, my friend. Ditto. Rest well. I remember. I miss you, Jack. Roger

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