A long way Arizona Jack


The day I met Jack I thought he was a visitor here. He had the lean well-favored look of stage presence that languished here briefly having touched Broadway. He sang at random, often and well. The logo on his shirt told me he worked at the plant nursery with me. I wondered then if he might have missed his call to the stage, instead falling for the sea and it’s shells. As the week went by, I was grateful for his platform of dogwoods and forsythia instead of city light. He made me laugh. We worked 12 hour days that summer, sometimes several in a row with no break. I remember feeling like I couldn’t do one more hour, but he would say something that would get my attention long enough to forget my aching feet. I am sure when he reads this he will say he never did anything special. But he did. The red pen jabs and tales of growing up in the 1960’s. He was like a gem before it is buffed and polished. Something in him shined.  

Summer spent, fall over time past, apart. I found a new job. It longed-for a Jack. The hydrangeas and maples there needed someone who knew them. He arrived with his lunch and a complete table setting including the white cloth napkin. Maybe that was the shine, he completed things. First hand I had seen many who didn’t. Their work ethic was the boss owed them something, a pay check wasn’t enough. Jack worked full circle, signed sealed and delivered it. He listened then accomplished. 

Accomplished means so many things, some prestigious and grand. Really though I think the more skilled are the scrappers who fight for theirs. Combat is in them. Jack’s nature. Cause could be his middle name. He means it. I might not agree but I envy the passion and boldness there standing for it. It’s his soul I see. Evidence of the God who wrote believe on his heart. I am not sure he thinks that. We never talked about God. We are green people in common. Our conversations are branches and racemes of purple and color. Our work desks are Anna belles and desert blossoms. 

The call of God, I see it in the will in his soul. The I won’t give up, the idea he holds tight. Amazing creations we are I see in him. Resilience that gets knocked down not to stay. An alcoholic in recovery, years and years of sobriety. A neck injury he says was really not that bad, just a vertebrae and a cervical brace for 8 weeks. A smoker for life I thought, quit done. A Realtor who chose Landscaper because inside doesn’t work. Kindred souls there.

 I traveled to Cape Cod to stay. He stayed for a while, then started life over again without snow near canyons. Our friendship remains in e space. I see his passion there now. Powerful words standing for some things I wouldn’t but standing just the same. Brazenly believing. Probably the gift I think about most, believe. It’s what allows us to soar and be strong and loud and who we are. But who we belong to infinitely is God. He speaks to all of us, just sometimes we listen. Mostly we shine him through us by choice or cause. Even when we don’t believe the trace of God is there. The scrapper in us is the soul calling his name.     




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