It was a long time ago
, I actually found him in the newspaper, I was looking for someone to help on a job I was doing. This long-haired guy
with wire rim glasses
answered the ad, said he knew how to pound nails, and called himself Nebraska Jim
. We just hit it off right away. It ended up I wasn't cut out then to be a boss, so we ended just jammin' around together. He had an old Harley
that he was trying to rebuild as his only transportation, my truck was broken so we hitch hiked
. Jim rented a summer cabin for the winter (cheap rent) up in the mountains near Tolland
and I stopped off to visit before I came to California
. We had a fun weekend and I was going to leave, but another friend had gotten his car stuck from the first small snow and I was going to pull him out with my truck. Well, I over reved the engine and broke a piston. I figured the next day I could get it down to somewhere I could fix it, but that night it snowed four feet
, and I was stuck too. That winter was fire in the woodstove, Harley in the living room, Brown the dog romping in the snowbanks, hikes in the National Forest
in blizzard conditions, thumbing a ride down to Nederland to borrow a shower. We had another guy move in for a while who had a 1938 Chevy sedan
. It had a back seat so big "you could fuck an elephant back there". We put a cast iron sink in the trunk for traction and were all mobile again.
But in the springtime, Jim broke his ankle and had to move into town because he couldn't get around. I had fixed the truck and was ready to go again. One night Jim had a little too much fun, and in his sleep, aspirated something he coughed up and became dead. His folks came out from Nebraska, his dad was a minister and they never approved of his life style, but after he was cremated they gave his ashes to his friends to scatter. Someone had a small stone cut that just said "Nebraska Jim" and had the Harley emblem on it. About 100 people came back up to the National Forest where we had spent the winter and I lead them to a clearing where we had gone often. We planted a small pine tree and put his ashes and the stone at the base. The box that you come back from the crematorium in is pretty small, I cut off the lid and it's still in my old memory trunk. After that, there didn't seem to be any reason to stay in Colorado anymore, so I hit the road for California, but that's another story. I never went back to that little tree, I don't know if I could even find it again. Here's to you Jim.