KingMidget's Ramblings

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What Might Have Been

What might have been were you to have lived?

You would turn 53 today.  Your already thinning hair would probably be all gone now.  You’d be bald as your father has been for years.  But still skinny as a rail.  You would have seen your mother pass instead of the other way around.  And you’d be here now as your father, in his early 90s is finally giving in to his age.  Maybe you would have kept the property in Lincoln so he wouldn’t have to sell it just a few months ago.  Maybe he’d be with you now, in a room in your house.  Telling his stories incessantly and watching his grand kids become adults.  Maybe.

What might have been had you not been left on a gurney in the hallway because you were young and healthy?

Maybe you’d be married.  Maybe to Kathy.  Maybe the two of you would have kids of your own and you would be a father several times over and not just to her son, to whom you were as good a father as one could hope for.  Maybe you would have had a little girl and a boy to go along with Kathy’s Little John.  I can’t imagine somebody as quiet and calm, level-headed and responsible, loving and good, being anything other than a great dad to whatever kids would have entered your life.  If it wasn’t Kathy, it would have been another woman – one of the luckiest women alive who would have seen through your quiet reserve and known of the incredible man you were.  Maybe

What might have been had you survived a heart attack at the age of 30?

There would have never been a Jon’s Mountain named in your honor.  Instead, there would likely still be nothing more than a trail and a clearing and 40 acres of wilderness outside of Downieville where you could go to escape it all, first by yourself, then with your kids.  Maybe I would have gone up to that spot with you one day instead of waiting years after your passing and the opportunity to visit your mountain with your dad.  Maybe, nothing would have changed except for the lack of a dedication that wouldn’t have been necessary.  Maybe.

What might have been were you alive today?

I can only imagine what your thoughts would be of a Donald Trump presidency.  Of the Giants winning three World Series.  Of what is happening now with our friend Jennifer, who is fading into the dark world of aggressive early onset dementia.  I can only imagine where your profession would have taken you.  What you would have done with the last 23 years.  I can only imagine so many things about where and what and who you would have become in all of these years that have passed.

I do not have to imagine, however, some things.  That you would still be a good man, somebody I would gladly call a friend. I know those things.  Most definitely.

You are missed. We may not think of you daily anymore as we live our lives all these years later. But have no doubt, you are missed. In the little things that make up a life, we wonder, I wonder, what might have been. And what has been lost because you are no longer with us.

* * * * *

I’ve written about Jon before on this blog, but I was reminded of him again when Kevin Brennan posted about Crosby, Stills & Nash. About their CSN album released in the late 70s.  Jon was, if nothing else, an irredeemable fan of Crosby, Stills & Nash. Other than Suite Judy Blue Eyes, what I remember most about the group is CSN.

For a couple of years after college, I lived with Jon and along the away, I heard a lot of the group and this album.  If somebody now mentions Crosby, Stills & Nash, I think of Suite Judy Blue Eyes and I think of Jon and a set of other songs I didn’t keep track of for years until Kevin posted his post. Listening to this album again, I was taken back to a time so long ago.  It’s hard to imagine this was 30 years ago.

Of Jon and I. He was alive. And vital and real.

And he is no more, taken far too soon from a world where he would have been nothing more than a worker bee, a cog in the wheel, but a great human being nonetheless because he was such a good and decent man.

16 responses to “What Might Have Been

  1. Kevin Brennan October 17, 2017 at 7:47 am

    Wow, what a tribute to your friend, Mark. And it’s so profound to have this musical connection to him that you can keep revisiting, recovering the times when you were together.

    Beautiful writing, full of poignant emotion.

    • kingmidget October 17, 2017 at 8:42 pm

      Thank you, Kevin. It is true that any time a song from that group comes on the radio, I think of Jon. They are inevitably linked in my mind. And the album you highlighted is so much of what I remember hearing in Jon’s home back then. Thank you for writing your post and reminding me and prompting this post. What he would have been like, what his life would have been had he lived is something I think about every year around this time.

  2. Kevin Brennan October 20, 2017 at 8:05 am

    Reblogged this on WHAT THE HELL and commented:
    A poignant tribute to a lost friend, inspired by music.

  3. Ilona Elliott October 20, 2017 at 9:58 am

    That is a beautiful essay KM. I’m sorry your friend passed so young and that you and others who loved him have so many what if’s to deal with. Thank God for good music and the way it creates such meaningful reference points in our lives. Your post reminded me of some of my own. Very moving.

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  7. Sorryless October 19, 2018 at 9:39 am


    This is such a poignant piece of writing.

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