Memories- for John

For my cousin who is bravely battling cancer. As I type this, I am crying. Life is so precious and we need to remember to tell those we love that we love them. There may not be a next time.

What I love about John:
Riding in the back of his parents’ old station wagon with the seats folded up, way before the era of seatbelts and car seats. We would slide around like crazy with every wild turn his dad made until one of us (me) would get stuck between the seats and start crying. He never made fun of me for it, no matter how big a baby I was.

He always shared his toys, and we would play with Lincoln logs, legos, pick- up sticks, tinker toys, and tiddly-winks for hours.
Going to the ballpark together to watch Jay, playing in the red dirt, and eating park food until we both got stomach aches.

Sparklers every Christmas Eve at Aunt Evonne’s and Uncle Charlie’s, and playing with the old spinning wheel.

Whenever his Mom baked a cake, she would make a line with a spatula down the middle of the bowl for us to lick the batter. John never put up a fuss that I always picked the biggest “half.”

Playing in the hay loft at Grandpa’s. John pushed all of us around on the cart so fast we felt like we were flying, occasionally crashing into the hay bales.

Going on horse rides, three to a saddle.

Eating dinner at his parents’ home when we were young. We’d sit on the bench together and manage to inhale the food quickly so that we could slide down, crawl under the table, and rush outside to play.

The tire swing.

He was always barefoot when he was little.

Sliding down a big grass hill in cardboard boxes.

We drove together very late one night on an eight hour trip, both really tired. He stayed awake with me while I drove the first part; when he took over, I fell asleep almost instantly leaving him to fight fatigue alone and take us safely home. He didn’t mind.

When his Mom had surgery and while I was engaged to my future ex-husband whom the family hadn’t yet met, John and I were in the waiting room together, both strung out and worried. He nudged me when we saw a fellow with a really bad toupee. I gave him a serious look, and said that the man’s hair was just like my fiancé’s. The horrified look on John’s face was priceless! He was absolutely speechless (which almost never happens)- until I started laughing. I can still picture his expression!

When I divorced, John told me “I want you to be happy, the guy’s a douche, and you can do a lot better.” All our lives, he’s always had my back.

Trivial Pursuit one Thanksgiving night at his Mom’s house.

Visiting with John and Jay at Jay’s house, drinking beer, and laughing so hard I was afraid I’d pee on myself. Those two always make me laugh.

His wonderful sense of humor and facial expressions- just one look can crack me up.

When John met my son, he made Austin feel like he’s known him his whole life. John has that way of making people so comfortable. I love it that he never meets a stranger.

Hearing John talk about how much he loves his wife and daughter, and knowing that he is loved.

Being greeted with “Hey pretty lady,” every time we talk in person or on the phone.

Getting to tell him I love him and hearing those precious words in return.


Author: awhitlow2

Murder can take a long time if you’re writing about it. My name is Ashleigh, and I’m a recovering next-timer… we’ll get together next time, I’ll call you next time, I’ll write about it next time, I’ll tell you I love you next time. Then reality hit (finally) that there may not be a next time and I was stunned. What?! We only get one shot at life? Really?! I’m also a recovering slow-learner. So in light of that realization that was over 40 years in the making, I’m writing my first novel- murder, love, redemption. I’m not sure what direction it will take but am enjoying the process and isn’t that what life’s all about anyway? More importantly, I’m living with gratitude for my family; God opened my eyes to the blessings of family and I’m thankful to Him and them for hanging in there with me all these years. (Did I mention I’m a slow-learner?) I’m a mother, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a cousin, a nurse, and a writer who LOVES to sing. Loudly. Badly. When no one else is around to hear it. Except the cat. Poor cat.

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