I usually write and schedule my blog entries days or even a week ahead, and schedule the time to be published. But this is today. Today we say goodbye to my second born son. He died suddenly on Sunday morning. I had no chance to give him a squeeze, say goodbye, or touch his face. And so I am imposing on you, gentle reader, hoping you don’t mind meeting him, letting me put out into the universe this lasting memorial to my son.
Alma John was both a restless soul and a home body. I remember him as a toddler, pulling on the bottom of his coat in the closet, crying Go! Go! Fast forward five years, and that same boy could hardly be drug to a car to go to town for groceries. He graduated and thought he wanted to see the world; he drove an 18-wheeler for two years. When he got tired of freeways and thoroughly homesick, he returned. He built a home on our property, which is as close as you can get to being home. He loved nothing more than playing out in the fields as a child, and chugging along on a brush hog as an adult. He was my home body son.
He was a redneck boy. His first car was a porsche, which he and his dad hauled home in pieces on the back of a flatbed trailer. He spent more than a year putting it back together, but never drove it. When he saw the prohibitive cost of insurance for a 16-year-old driving a sports car, he sold it and bought a beat up old truck. Very fitting.
He could fix or repair or build anything from wood or steel. He built a 40 x 80 foot three story steel building and shop for their home, and the scope of the project never daunted him. I can see it now as I type this, and I remember him high in the air, balanced on a beam, my heart in my throat. No fear.
He was sarcastic and politically incorrect. Always. He was a country boy who loved all the old classics. When he was in his shop, you could always hear the twang of a steel guitar.
He was a first-responder for ten or more years, and would give anyone the shirt off his back. When he got tired of all the politics he went back to being a grease monkey, which was where he started.
He was a beloved son, a husband and father, a good man. He was my son.
RIP Alma John Rhoads