It’s starting to rain. I love the rain. It gets dark and somber and everything seems to slow down. I called a buddy yesterday to see if I could buy him lunch. He’s a veteran. I knew he was sick, but I figured he was doing well by now. He was born fifteen years after me. But I looked up to him because of the way he was. We met several years ago as attorneys in Las Vegas Family Court. I drew his portrait at a Meet Your Judges event and he became a pal. He offered to help me in my practice if I needed anything since I was new in town. I took him up on his offer many times. He was very generous with his time. He knew everyone in the practice. Walking down a corridor in the Family Courthouse was a slow process because he had had cases with every attorney in the place and spoke to them all and remained friendly with them all. (Not an easy task with attorneys.)
I had been out of touch because I knew he had been sick, but I hadn’t wanted to intrude. I saw things about him on Facebook when he was first diagnosed. I heard the prognosis was good, back then. But it was getting close to lunch so I called his office thinking maybe he had turned off his cell phone while in a hearing. That’s when I learned he was gone. He was so young. I never heard him say a cross word, even when I knew he was irritated with someone. When he told stories which focused on some crook’s foibles, he made it funny. He seemed incapable of cruel words. He was politically conservative. He liked my dumb cartoons (or at least he was too kind to say differently). I may not have mentioned that he was probably the smartest guy I ever met. He must have remembered everything he ever read or heard. I sat beside him in a continuing legal education seminar with a bunch of judges on the panel. About ten minutes into the panel discussion John had become the “go to guy” when a judge couldn’t remember a statute or some verbiage. The judges were getting irritated, but they still deferred to him. I was chronicling the scene in a sketchbook. He made it seem funny just by his facial expression.
My friend, John Eccles, Esq., did a stint in the Army. It seemed strange to think of him as a warrior. He was a Christian so I’ll look forward to seeing him again. And since he was a veteran he’s on my mind doubly at this time of the year. So until I see him again in that Distant and Beautiful Land, sleep well, friend John, and choirs of angels sing thee to thy rest.
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