RIP Old Friend

14 07 2011

My friend Jim is dead.

The crusty ol’ conservative engineer from Arkansas has left this world. There will not be a third road trip to Vegas and back. And his death, at this point, remains a mystery.

I received word a few weeks ago from a mutual friend that Jim had taken his own life. This was shocking news, but it seems Jim had run into some financial difficulties that he was not prepared to combat.

You see, Jim was a proud man. His wealth, gained through hard work and vast knowledge, was slipping away. At 74, he would not transition well into a life of poverty, so he did what he has always done — he took control of the situation and fired up his vintage 1960 Thunderbird one last time inside a closed garage.

I never got to say goodbye.

There has yet to be an obituary published in the local paper. Jim rarely spoke of any family. For the most part he was a loner, married to his work. And with work hard to come by these days, Jim decided to check out.

I’m frustrated that he could not ask for help and reminded of the biblical saying, “Pride cometh before the Fall.”

Our trips through the American Southwest were incredible and first class. Jim spared no expense and said he was taking me along for the ride because he knew that I would appreciate the experience.

He was right. I realize this now more than ever.

Maybe he knew something I didn’t. Maybe he knew time was running out and he wanted to share some wisdom with a young writer. Whatever the case, his passing leaves more questions that will probably never be answered.

One thing is for certain. The man who showed me the Grand Canyon for the first time is gone and there is a big hole left in my heart.

Goodbye Old Friend




3 responses

14 07 2011
david altermatt

It is hard to believe Jim is gone. He was truely unique. He will be missed more than I think he realized by those few who really got to know him. John, you have captured well the inigma of Jim Smith, mild man and engineer.

24 07 2011
Don Harris

I’ve read your blogs about Jim — always kind of wondered who he was and what your relationship was. It’s sad that things ended the way they did — and over money (or lack of it). It sounds like he had a full life, but with the last part chopped off abruptly. I’m glad you got to spend some time with him before the end.

30 11 2011
Jimmy Shields

He was a great man, this posting was him in every way! We all have to say we learned alot from such a great man. Rest in peace Jim Smith Auto My message therapist. Love your friends Jimmy

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