This morning I attended the funeral of one of my childhood next door neighbor kids. Jim Jones was 54, and found out just a couple of months ago that he had pancreatic cancer....this type of cancer is almost always a sure death sentence, because you usually don't have symptoms until it's to late to treat....this was Jim's case, he noticed the stomach problems in September...and by
then the disease had spread.
Jim was the youngest of the 4 Jones brothers, along with a youngest sister who were our next door neighbors at the first house the folks bought after we moved back to Ohio....we were located just outside the small lake community of Montezuma, Ohio. Jim's older brothers Bob(jr) and Jerry were, along with Rick Pearson, my best friends during our high school years....from 1963 through our graduation from Celina High School in 1967, and until Bob and I joined the military in 68....we were pretty much inseparable. The Jones brothers, especially Bob, Jerry, and the next oldest Chuck were into fast cars....Jerry especially had some power houses....
The most memorable car experience with the Jones boys(and we had many car adventures) was with Jerry, on the day after I returned from Vietnam...July 1, 1970, if I recall. I was back after a year over the pond...and ready to have some fun....Jerry had just purchased a 1970 Dodge Super Charger 440 'Six Pack'....after a few bottles of ripple, MD 20/20 or some other rot gut, Jerry hauled out the Six Pack and we hauled ass around town.....pulling 'hole shots" and running the main street of Celina....the local cops finally got wind and tried to pull us over as we headed out of town....I remember looking over as we headed down US 127 towards Montezuma...the Odometer was buried at 150...talk about the "telephone" poles looking like dots"..they did.
As the story goes...and yes a true story...we got to the Jones house, changed cars and pro ceded to hit the bars around the lake before heading home around 2AM....Bob Sr was waiting on us....and was ready to kill Jerry, he didn't but the Sheriff Patrol was soon paying a visit...You had to be there...Jerry lost his license for six months...I enjoyed the rest of the 30+ day leave and headed up to Rome, New York, for my final Air Force duty....this is just one of the exploits Bob, Jerry, and I had...almost all involving alcohol and cars....nobody said we were smart, but we survived, and that in itself was a miracle.
Jim was the quite younger brother...never married, bought the family house when the parents(both still alive) moved to Celina, and was a dedicated Church going Christian...a nice guy in all sense of the word....
I had not seen Jerry since 1984( he had moved to Southern California in 1977), Bob and I had drifted apart some 30 years ago when Patricia and I moved to Wisconsin...although we remain friends, we have seldom seen each other since I returned to Ohio in 1980, Chuck is one of my mechanics, so I still see him all the time.....in the times of sadness and family tragedy, we always seen to finally get around to meeting up again.....Weddings and Funerals seem to be , sadly, get together time. Growing old really sucks sometimes.
God Rest Your Soul Jim, I'm sure you made your destination.
Bob, me, and 3 other guys traveled to Lima to join the Navy in the spring of 1968....Bob and 2 others signed up...another friend of ours Ed Bonifis, and I went downstairs to the Air Force Recruiter....and joined there...life on the sea just didn't sit well with us...so Bob Jr ended up in the Navy, I ended up a Sky Cop
JUST RE READ THIS POST...HAS TO BE ONE OF THE MOST POORLY WRITTEN I HAVE DONE....BUT WTF? You get the drift, I hope...I'm not doing it over. :}
(1970 Charger, much like the 440 Daytona Six Pack Jerry owned, Bob Jones and I on our first leaves home, Christmas of 1968, Jim Jones funeral handout}