Friday, September 17, 2010

Two Year Anniversary of Cousin Jim's Death

Two years ago today, my cousin and friend Jim Wakefield left his journey in this world for another one. He was 28 years old.

Jim was an amazing human being. He was a social justice organizer working with new immigrant communities in Chicago. He'd lived, worked, and taught in West Africa and Korea. He was funny, brilliant, and loving. He is the kind of person that this world craves.

Like all humans he had his faults. He smoked too much, and every time I would see him I would tell him that his teeth were as ashy as my feet (which is pretty damn bad). When he taught me how to ride a back when I was seven, we were at our Grandma's house, and he neglected to tell me how to stop. Thank God the garage stepped in and showed me how to stop the hard way. His ex-girlfriend stole a t-shirt that I'd left at my cousin's parent's home when I was visiting during college. She took it to France and brought it back to me with a cigarette hole in it (damn those French! It's Freedom Fries from now on), and since I would never have known Allie...I blame Jim for her Francophone ways. But other than those foibles, my cousin was pretty damn cool (though, like most of the straight men in my family...I always wanted him to consider something other than a raggedy ass pair of jeans an and old stained white-ish t-shirt as daily wear).

Today, I am remembering the awesome human being that Jim was. From the time when we were all too damn young and Jim's older brother danced around our grandparent's hunting trailer with nothing on but some tube socks and an attitude and danced around singing, "Babies are made when the man puts the penis into the vagina," to drunken antics we shared at my cousin Dawn Michelle's wedding when Dawn asked my Mom to go commando on my Aunt Joanne's drunk and lecherous boyfriend...Jim figures prominently in some of the best times of my life.

I love you, Jim. I miss you, Jim. Say hi Grandpa for me, and save me a spot, k? I'll see you one day (but not too soon, I hope...and if you know something more than I do...keep it to yourself. Cheeky bastard!).

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