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A Right Mind
The Suffering of a Patron Soul
My friend lost his eldest son some years ago.
He kind of adopted two of us to carry on his legacy, I, who have moved off to points unknown and declined to run a martial arts school under his sponsorship.
There was also Jimmy, who my dear old friend gave all of his instructional equipment and referred students to.
Jimmy has been gone 15 months now.
I recall a hot summer day around 2014, when we had all lost track of our old friend. We found out he was in the hospital and had just walked out.
The hospital was 8 miles away.
He was almost seventy.
He showed up at Jimmy’s school a little late for class.
Jimmy looked at me, solo training in the back of the dojo, and nodded to the dressing room. Our friend had put us together, Jimmy with the training space and, well whatever they wanted me and mine for…
I went into the dressing room and asked the old man if he was okay.
He said something less verbose than, “No, I feel like I’m gonna die. But I couldn’t stay in that place.”
I asked him if he needed help or medical attention and he waved me off impatiently and reminded me I had to get in shape for my next fight and to get the hell out on the matt.
I walked back onto the floor and nodded to Jimmy and he shrugged his shoulders.
When Lee came out of the dressing room a few minutes later the class gave him a standing ovation and then ignored him while he did his stretches in the corner.
That was just what he needed. I took him to the diner and the waitress was so horrified by his look that she didn’t charge for his food.
Wondering how my friend was doing—a man who pulled me out of a self-imposed hell and set me back on a true path, when he caught me managing a store and commented how fat and unhealthy I looked to be and got me the gig at Jimmy’s school, he got back to me with this:
“I hope all is well with you! James, I haven’t been right in my head since Jimmy passed away.”
I remembered then my Great Grandpa Kern, after his second son died, how he cried and said that no man should have to bury his sons.
Say a prayer for Lee, please.
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