The High Holy days of the Roman Catholic religion are always meaningful to me. Maybe more so this year with the passing of a wonderful friend, brother…a person with whom I shared only good times…and love…So this is Holy Thursday…the day of the Last Supper of Christ after which he is betrayed by Judas. This is the first Easter since mom died.
I discovered my soul
Don’t know where don’t know when
Somewhere in my past
Just round the bend
So much on a red
Wheel barrow depends
Glazed with rain water
When you touch my hand
The sky opens up
And the stars move so fast
They are streaming
My heart fills with love
I just want to share...
Oh, the time
Has come for dreaming...
Good Friday...a day of reflection and fasting...
I can’t help but think of Tom Johnson, my mom and dad…they have gone but will not be forgotten. I have been running the racket that I am a toxic person and that is why I can’t go back to the “old gang.” There are so many old gangs I have abandoned in my life. Some for their own good, some for mine.
Tom’s death has poked something in me. We have not been close since high school. After his sister, Lynn, and I broke up, I can’t remember much contact with him at all. We went separate ways. I think it was all for the best. My drama was toxic for people trying to be good people. Struggling with their own demons, they didn't need my brand of superior dysfunction, my gaping hole of want and need, my crazy, unrepressed selfishness. My inability to give, truly give of myself only complicated what was an already complicated time in all our lives.
Tom Johnson taught me how to drive in his mother’s car. We drove that shit brown Dodge Dart up and down Watchouge Road. He took me, in that car, to take my driver’s test in Port Richmond. They threw me a surprise 17th birthday party. The only one I’d ever had in my life. When I had fallen from grace, for my 18th birthday, we went to the movies…me, Tom and Kaz went to see Midway. It was the lamest birthday ever. It was perfect.
Maybe I am remembering the past through Rose-colored glasses (pardon the pun Mom), but even though Tom could be an intimidating presence, I felt he always loved me.
I spent many joyful hours with the Johnson’s. I practically lived there for a while. There were members of the clan who weren't overly fond of me or of my relationship with Lynn. But not Tom. He was able to remain loyal to his family, watch out for their best interests, and not vilify me.
Whatever is good in me…that family helped foster. My love of M*A*S*H came from the evening ritual of watching it as a family. I remember my dates with Lynn, we went to movies like Roller Ball with James Cann, and The Who’s Tommy. On the 3rd of July 1975, we all went to a drive-in and saw Jaws. There’s a line in that film where the mayor of Amity exclaims, “Tomorrow is the Fourth of July,” and we just howled with delight.
Whatever love I can share now, whatever good I am capable of doing, that relationship, my relationship with the Johnson family, helped enable and reinforce the possibility that there was something positive I had to offer the world. I look back at all the good times, and think of the stupid things I did with a smile. Now, I can only imagine what a reunion would have been like.
The boat that was sinking
landed on your shore
Oh, the time
Has come for redeeming...