A good friend of mine died this week, Wednesday morning. Jack Murphy. I met him in a writers’ group. He lived. Jack was a carpenter. He worked on historic homes in Mobile, Alabama. And, he worked some on boats, too. He had that in common with my husband, and appreciated his work. He made friends with most of the homeowners he worked for. Jack made friends very easily, because he was just plain kind. He appreciated qualities in others, could always find the good. Whatever happened, he had a smile. A real one. He cared about others, and remembered things about you; things you told him, things he noticed. Jack was supportive and encouraging. He was intelligent, well-read and his thoughts were well-considered, and he could sure give an opinion; but, he never attacked anyone personally. I never heard him criticize anyone.
Jack was a true stand-up guy. He owned his mistakes, his history, without excuses. Jack did what he could to amend mistakes, and then forgave himself and went on. He was charming and funny. And, trustworthy, deeply honorable in that sense. I learned a lot from him. I counted on him. He kept alive for me the characters of my childhood; traditions and customs, expressions and a certain way of looking at things that you carry in you from how you were raised, where your folks came from. We had that in common.
Jack didn’t have much. He was content in his circumstances, and did not complain. The Medicare system was inadequate to help him, and he was treated in ways he would never have been had he had resources. Those who complain about universal healthcare being ‘socialism’, are just baiting you with false words. Those who say if we have universal health care, the gov’t will decide who lives and who dies. Well, it’s the insurance companies that make that decision now, some the gov’t (like Medicare in this case) some private insurance, if you run out of money.
So when it comes time to vote, don’t think about parties, think about the people like Jack, who gave to others generously. The kind folks who do the things needing done without ever telling it. Those who work hard and wind up with little in the way of financial security to show for it,though they act responsibly throughout their lives. It happens because we don’t want unions that would protect workers and we are told that would just drive costs up (actually, the CEO/management pay is what drives cost – check the salaries). We do want military pensions, and gov’t pensions, and our own pensions, though. And, we don’t want universal healthcare because somebody we think doesn’t deserve it, might get it. We’re frightened and baited all the time with the nonsense about how many ‘slackers’ are getting a free ride. When mostly, we are really talking about people like my friend, Jack. There is a way to have universal healthcare and for people, who want to, to keep private insurance. It’s very simple, easily done. But, if you divide people, and get them fighting each other – you don’t have to solve anything. You can keep playing it out, and putting the bucks in your own pocket.
Jack was dying. He knew that. But, he might have had better circumstances; better placement and care, if he had resources. Jack never complained. He was kind to the nurses; and, when conscious, he thanked them and joked with them some. He deserved better. He never would have said so. Always grateful, always gracious to the very end.
I thank you for letting me tell you about someone important to me, whom you don’t know. It is my sincere hope that you will think about things. It’s not about democrat or republican. I don’t call myself by any party. I just want to do for others what I would want for me. There is a place where we can meet, and be kind to one another, do the right thing. Jack found that. I hope he left that with me. I wish it for you.
It’s funny, the people of the strongest character, with the most to offer that is of the greatest value in this life, are very often those unknown, those just like Jack. I am fortunate that I met him. I consider it a wonder, a marvel and a lovely mystery. Thank you, Jack.
Peace be with you. Thank you so much for stopping by.