Monday, February 25, 2008
Margaret Timmons of the Cowboy Junkies has a voice like creme brulee. Smooth as silk and not your everyday voice. It cracks the surface of your heart with sweetness and is not without some angst. I was downloading new tunes to my Zune tonight and plugged the thing into my ears and the silken voice of Margaret came through reminding me of........
I was introduced to the Cowboy Junkies by my first childhood (Jr. High) sweetheart. We were friends in late grade school and in Jr. High. Well, ya, that's the time the hormones start to ramble around a bit, and boys no longer looked so icky. The boys that age in our group all had these little motorcycles, and since my folks both worked in the daytime, an anomoly in those days, the kids hung out at my house. Getting caught by an overly strict stepdad with a basement full of kids dancing and kissing in corners added to the excitement of our new found puberty.
Lonbo had strong arms. He was nicer than the other boys. We would tell our parents we wanted to go to the ballgames and then the kids that were "couples" would go to the cemetery to "make out." It was scary, or the girls would pretend it was, and that gave the boys an excuse to put their arms around us. After a summer of cemetery love, Lonbo and I faded away to 10th grade, consolidated with a huge number of other kids. By then I was having a hard enough time keeping my sanity, let alone worry about boys.
A couple of years before I left for Wyoming, Lonbo found me through email. He sent apologies and I asked him, "What on earth for?" He felt like he had taken advantage of me - now, what a guy - after all these years! He continued to write once in a great while and send music to me. (I've never been one to discover music, all my music has been introduced to me by friends and my kids.) Four years later, Lonbo was dead. Maybe he even subconsciously knew the dark horseman was near when he first contacted me.
I found out Lonbo could not live life without being stoned on grass and he drank way too much. So many of the kids in our crowd had very painful lives, but we never thought beyond ourselves at that age, how could I know what situation he lived in? As an adult, he managed to be successful in his business and live in one of the most desirable places on earth. He bought a huge painting from me - of zebras on an African veld. I'm sure that fit in his office in the wild west, ha ha. Was it a guilt purchase?
Time passed, then in Wyoming I received an email and he said he had cancer and was going to another state to see a specialist. He mentioned he might just show up on my doorstep. I hoped he would come, so I could just hold him against me, like a brother and maybe some life would flow into him. I had bad feelings about the situation. I didn't hear again until three months later.
He had cancer all through him and had five months left according to the doctors. He said he would not go the way of cancer. His pleasure was extreme snowmobiling through the magnificent Tetons, he never played things very safe. Two more months and a mutual friend emailed and said Lonbo was dead. I don't know if it was the cancer or if he hurried on.
I couldn't erase his email off my address book. Still can't.