Last Visit

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Bright Raven
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Last Visit

Postby Bright Raven » Sun Dec 10, 2017 4:16 pm

I met James in 1975.  I worked for a coal company in eastern Kentucky as a Reclamation Manager.  I was 25 with little experience other than one year as a State Reclamation Specialist.

James was a dozer operator.  He was assigned to my reclamation unit.  The company was behind on reclamation and some of their bonded areas were up for forfeiture.  So 3 dozer units were assigned to my projects.

Rarely do you encounter such a simple, uncluttered human being.  He had no axes to grind, he had no chip on his shoulder, he was simple, happy, and never said a cross or sarcastic word.  If I had a project,  he didn't try to argue how or what should be done.  He would ask "how do you want it to look."  His example, was a positive influence, that was my salvation.

He told me when he was a freshman in high school, he went to a friend's house and never went back home except to get his stuff.  His adopted family loved him.  His father died two years later.

The last time I saw him was July 1978.  On a Saturday,  I drove the company vehicle out to where James was drill benching.  He stopped and got down.  I told him it was my last day.  I lost complete contact with him after that.

I was waiting near the casket watching the pictures go across the screen.  Suddenly,  there he was.  Standing on the tracks of a D9.  He was probably in his 50s.  He was looking at the photographer and I caught his eyes.  He had that huge smile on his face.

I looked and saw his wife whom I had never met.  Before she could ask, I said you must be Irene,  I worked with James back in the 70s.  I said, "He was the nicest man I ever met."  She said yes he was.

I was there less than 15 minutes after driving 3 hours.  I didn't know why I went but I enjoyed seeing him one last time on the tracks of a dozer.
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Re: Last Visit

Postby callmefence » Sun Dec 10, 2017 4:39 pm

I'm sure he'd be tickled you was there.
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Re: Last Visit

Postby cowboy43 » Sun Dec 10, 2017 4:44 pm

How many times has a person thought ( I need to go see old so and so ) and the next thing you know he is gone. I asked an old friends daughter how her father was doing and I need to go see him. He response was fine and no you won’t . The next time I saw him was at his funeral. That was 20 years ago and I still remember her answer.
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Re: Last Visit

Postby Bestoutwest » Sun Dec 10, 2017 5:24 pm

The one thing I’ve learned about adulthood is that the years melt away like nothing I’ve ever experienced. I have a very good friend I haven’t seen in a decade, but it doesn’t seem but a month or so. It’s amazing how the time just flies away.
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Re: Last Visit

Postby Jogeephus » Sun Dec 10, 2017 6:41 pm

That was good of you Ron and I bet that meant the world to his wife and family.
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Re: Last Visit

Postby TCRanch » Sun Dec 10, 2017 6:53 pm

Wow. I just got goosebumps. I'm glad you went - for you and his family.
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Re: Last Visit

Postby Bright Raven » Sun Dec 10, 2017 7:01 pm

Jogeephus wrote:That was good of you Ron and I bet that meant the world to his wife and family.


They did not have a clue who I was. I thought I might see someone that had a common connection, but we are so much older. Gosh, I was 25 to 28 when I knew James. He was three years older because it said he was 70. He seemed older than that at the time.

He was a great supporter at a time and in a place where I was at a disadvantage. I took a high paying job that the "natives" so to speak did not think a "foreigner" should get. James only saw me as someone trying do do a good job. He was an extremely rare human being. He loved the mountains and his home. Unlike the others, he saw value in repairing the land. He enjoyed the reclamation work. That worked to my benefit. He set the example for the other operators to follow. In brief, he made me look good. I don't know if I would have been successful without him. That went through my mind as I drove to his visitation. I did it for myself. I needed to pay tribute to a man that made so much difference in my success.
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Re: Last Visit

Postby Bright Raven » Sun Dec 10, 2017 7:07 pm

TCRanch wrote:Wow. I just got goosebumps. I'm glad you went - for you and his family.


Thanks. I am glad too.
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Re: Last Visit

Postby True Grit Farms » Sun Dec 10, 2017 7:19 pm

On Friday we made plans to get a cabin and spend a few days with my best man and his wife of 36 years. We haven't seen each other for 10 years and time is slipping by quickly. This thread reinforces the want to.
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Re: Last Visit

Postby D2Cat » Sun Dec 10, 2017 8:52 pm

Ron, you said, "I was there less than 15 minutes after driving 3 hours. I didn't know why I went but I enjoyed seeing him one last time on the tracks of a dozer."

No, it's not one last time. Once someone is in your mind and heart they are there in your memory and there forever.

You were blessed to have someone of such character influence your life at 25 years of age. Those are the kind of relationships missing in our society today.
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Re: Last Visit

Postby bball » Sun Dec 10, 2017 8:55 pm

Bright Raven wrote:
Jogeephus wrote:That was good of you Ron and I bet that meant the world to his wife and family.


They did not have a clue who I was. I thought I might see someone that had a common connection, but we are so much older. Gosh, I was 25 to 28 when I knew James. He was three years older because it said he was 70. He seemed older than that at the time.

He was a great supporter at a time and in a place where I was at a disadvantage. I took a high paying job that the "natives" so to speak did not think a "foreigner" should get. James only saw me as someone trying do do a good job. He was an extremely rare human being. He loved the mountains and his home. Unlike the others, he saw value in repairing the land. He enjoyed the reclamation work. That worked to my benefit. He set the example for the other operators to follow. In brief, he made me look good. I don't know if I would have been successful without him. That went through my mind as I drove to his visitation. I did it for myself. I needed to pay tribute to a man that made so much difference in my success.


Your honesty and introspection is inspiring. This is not to patronize you, as i know how little you care for such things. Sincerely, thank you for sharing, inspiring and motivating.
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Re: Last Visit

Postby pdfangus » Mon Dec 11, 2017 11:14 am

Ron,

This morning you have made me think of the many who have influenced my life and have passed on to the next realm.

But I think of many of them often.

I often wonder if they would be satisfied with the way I turned out.....

I am yet to be happy with the result...but then I know all of my own secrets and short comings...
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TennesseeTuxedo
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Re: Last Visit

Postby TennesseeTuxedo » Mon Dec 11, 2017 4:08 pm

Nice thread Ron.
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Bright Raven
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Re: Last Visit

Postby Bright Raven » Mon Dec 11, 2017 4:13 pm

TennesseeTuxedo wrote:Nice thread Ron.


Thank you my good friend.
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Re: Last Visit

Postby boondocks » Mon Dec 11, 2017 4:38 pm

Had a good friend call last night (we keep in touch but haven't seen her in a few years now) and she says she's gathering all of her friends together the end of January. Gonna hire a chef to cook us a nice dinner. Wine will be drunk. (Drank? Drinked? lol). It'll be the middle of winter and 3 states away, but I'll go if I at all can. This person dropped everything and came running when my son was born 2 months early and was fighting for his life in the NICU. She just showed up from many hours away, before most of my family even made it. World is full of good people, which is easy to forget...Thanks for the post.
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