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Flashback Friday

First Published on 7/22/11

One of my very best buddies was Mike Johnson.  I met him through Pat Johnson, his wife, who worked as an Administrative Assistant in the Probation department when I started at the Mary Davis Home.  We golfed together along with Randy from work and had a few on Friday nights after work.   He was one of those guys who would really, really do anything for you.  He helped me move, helped work on the house now and again, and always helped to cheer me up.  He was funny.  Never met a salesman yet who wasn't.

He's the one who joined us all in a smoke-cessation class where you throw your pack of cigarettes in a trash can at the 1st meeting.  At the break I go in with mike to pee and he pulls out another pack and lights one up..  Mike died of heart problems, and he'd been told by his doctor to stop smoking.  Well, he didn't and then he died.  To the credit of health awareness and education, and those of us ex-smokers who nag on smokers, most all of the people I know have quit.  Thanks for giving us your gift of health, may you live long.  These are circa 1991-1996.

For five years after his death we put on a benefit golf outing with proceeds going to the Heart Association.  The motto was always "to do something good and have fun doing it."  It was tough work.  We had to get raffle prizes from businesses, create fliers and distribute, book a golf course, buy food, and arrange an after-golf place to party.

Golfers getting ready for tee off at Windmill Golf Course.

Me presenting a portrait of Mike to his widow and my long time friend Pat.

Charlene taking pictures.

Volleyball at Oak Run.

We got some good crowds along the way.


Steaks on the grill.

Our first Open was at Oak Run Golf course and then at the beach area.

Randy did the cooking.

Looks like I'm tallying something, no idea what.  But whatever it is, don't bug me, I'm really into this, and you know me and numbers.

The last time I saw Mike was about a week before St. Patrick's day.  I was sitting alone in a bar on Main Street, apparently wanting to drink alone and get depressed over something.  One moment  isolation and solitude, then the next moment, there he was, on my right.  Cracking a joke, making me laugh.  We stayed awhile, even donated a buck to some St. Pat charity four leaf clover (I went in after he died and asked for it and still have it).  Turned into a good night.  A week later he was dead, somewhere in a motel in Chicago.

I'm a bit of a softy anyway, but I cried that night.  I'd lost Ed a couple of years before that and it seemed I was losing my friends.

After five years we ended it.  Not being or wanting to be in charge of the money I can't say for sure how much we ended up giving to the Heart Association, but it was certainly hundreds.  The Johnson family graciously gave me a putter thanking me for my meager contributions, bu they needn't have, that's what friends do.


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