Some names I will change, as this story is still on going for family and friends. Out of respect, as some of us here are still living.

          For Jay, Mark and Greg

             “Season Of The Sun”

             Jay and I used to work for this big ape named Mr. T. Mr. T was a demanding mentally unstable workhound with a tendancy to yell at us and briefly praise us. I liked Jay because he made the job fun. He had graduated from highschool. I’m a year older. We were different in that he let stuff go and I took it in at work.

      So it was a good day if I worked with Jay. I took the job way too serious. Jay was Mr. T’s neighbor and didn’t take his chastisment to heart. These beatings of shame by Mr. T led me to give notice and jobless, have my “Tibetan” experience hiking through Washington State’s Olympic National forest. That is where Twilight was filmed. Lonely-blood wilderness.

       Well I found in these guys, Mark, Greg, myself Andy, and Jay, a team of men worth remembering. Season One we didn’t have Jay or Paul. This story is about Mark, Jay, Gregg and I and the later year season when Paul died. Paul had not worked for long. He was just getting to know us all, really.

        I worked with Paul. Now all the details seem like an honorarium and he smiles in three dimensions. He and I went in a pair often. We were landscapers. I taught Andreas how to use a standing mower. He was unsure and jolted about. But he got the hang of it. He acted young and looked young, but I was 19 and he was 20. He died the next season age 21. The details escape me. My memory solidifies some.

     That year I got really, really sick, but I went to work. Even Mr. T said, “Are you alright?” I wasn’t. I didn’t know until THIS DECADE, I was having small heart attacks. These attacks would last and take 10 days to snap out of. Psychologically, I’d say its as hard as going through Army boot camp x100. It changed me. I’d get a hyper heart beat.

      It had happened before at age 15. It was actually a full on M.I. I never saw a doctor. Since then my pain tolerance was high. I was used to feeling like “God was close”. It felt like the devil spoke to me as I continued to work. I felt so much pain, I was having a half-out of body experience for 10 days straight. So jf you have a feeling like that, go to ER. My dad said I was mentally ill and I kept thinking that my only vision of the future was that I was a monster (what “human” stays alive to feel THAT? A bad one, I thought. Praise to God, God was NOT who I thought, waiting to throw me into hell with the devil.) Yeah. It was a heart attack.

        So Paul and I had lunch while I was in this state. It is extremely psychedelic, so please do not be weirded out by what I’m about to say. Unspeaking voices said, “There is no hope for you, but there is for HIM”. And they made me look at Paul. It was like body toxicity, Christ in the desert. Christ on the cross.

      “Paul,” I said to him, eating his lunch. I was hungry for nothing but to impart a selfless gift to my friend. “Paul, did you know you need to believe in Jesus to go to Heaven?” He said, “Huh. I don’t know.” Well many days later that state of deathly illness- I left it. I have an immunodeficiency and other illnesses that I have survived.

       Well the next year we worked one day. That night, Mr. T. called me quite worried and said, “Andy… pray. They can’t find Andreas.” He explained he had gone swimming with Jay. It was a hot day and everyone was at the river down in Gladstone. I went outside and the night was clear I think. I prayed Paul would be alright and must’ve walked down the side of the river.

      I came home and Mr.T. said, “They found Paul. He’s not with us any more.” Now actually I think I prayed IN my apartment, yes, as I walked the street blocks praying for about an hour. More like talking to God, asking why did he go. I gained assurance that it had to be this way and the next day, another worker Philemon told us how he was on a fishing boat. It went down and he was the sole survivor. Philemon was a dark-skinned ex-Navy man and short, the father-in-law of Mr. T’s brother. Philemon said we should take the day off “for our friend” and “return to work tomorrow.” Philemon is still alive and lives in Milwaukie. He looks like a wealthy man now and thought Mr. T was crazy. Seriously. He’d laugh and say Mr. T. was crazy and I always wanted to tell Jay that because AFTER Paul died, Mr. T, who is still alive and lives in Milwaukie, and is still a nut, to his great shame berated Jay and blamed him for Paul being lost.

      Mr. T claimed he was such a religious man and smart. But he wasn’t a good man. He was an adulterer and worse. So I always felt Jay had to bear multiple crosses, but Jay never would have hurt anyone. I almost drowned in 2010 and it takes these- a lot of water and extenuating circumstances.

      So its a grief. There was a funeral and I saw it was just harder for Jay. So one day at work, I asked him about the day. We sat in the work truck and Jay told me. The thing about the Season of the Sun is that the pastor said Paul’s last words to his mom, “Mom, if I die someday, don’t feel bad. I’ll be in Heaven.” So Paul made it. Some of us having heart aches of one kind or another along the way. So I forget the past and hold my wife. The past is just a thing. Those who are here matter. They really do.

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