This is my friend Jim. Jim was one of those people who understood what it is like to yearn for something that always seems just out of reach. He was a musician and writer and even wrote a musical about Napoleon. He loved to laugh and like me, he saw the humor in the worst situations.
During a particularly rough period a few years back, Jim hired me to work with him selling used commercial aircraft parts. Not that he needed me. He had had his business for many years and when things were good, they were really good. But Jim took pity on me and made sure that I always had money and always was well fed.
We laughed a lot. A whole lot. Because Jim's office was in his home, he took care of his mother in law Mildred. Mildred Hurwitz had been a successful artist in Chicago. You can Google her. There are even some videos of her talking about her work. Mildred needed to be taken care of and Jim's wife had her move in and, because Jim's wife worked outside the home, Jim became the primary caregiver. He would make her breakfast and lunch and take her blood sugar level and adjust her medicine every day.
Because Jim was taking care of me too, we would all have breakfast and lunch together and it was always hilarious. When I asked Mildred if she minded if I took pictures her response was "Why the hell would I care?"
Unfortunately, it didn't last very long. Jim's wife didn't like me being around. Jim explained that whenever she would come home, she would hear us laughing and goofing around and it happened so many times, she began to question how much work was really happening. So I had to go. Jim still had me come over for breakfast and lunch and we would meet for a beer every once in a while. I missed Mildred because she was such a pistol. Listening to she and Jim go at each other was like listening to old time radio. I missed it.
A few months later Mildred died in her sleep. Jim told me he was glad he didn't have to take care of her anymore. He would ask if that made him a bad person. Since I never heard him once complain about it, I said it didn't. He missed her too.
Things got better for me and I didn't see Jim as much. We would get lunch together which he always insisted on paying for. Except once at the bagel place when he forgot his wallet and we dined and dashed. We really didn't have to, but that was just how immature we could be.
Jim had a heart condition that required a defibulator to be implanted in his chest. He told me that when the thing would fire it was the most incredible pain and that made him feel like he was dying more than anything his heart was doing. I got the word that Jim had died two weeks after it happened. We were going to get together and I kept putting it off. I guess because his wife didn't like me she didn't feel the need to tell me. It was my son who was friendly with Jim's son who told me.
It's been two years and I decided to organize a few of the pictures that I took during the time we were working together. I still miss him very much. He was a good person.