August 25, 2005

On August 9th, when I walked into my office, Kenwood, my former husband (Alexandra’s Dad), told me that Jo-Jo, our painter and handyman, had recently died. He showed me his obituary in the paper and told me that our neighbor, Wayne, had just come over with tears in his eyes to tell him about Jo-Jo’s death. We were shocked because Jo-Jo was so young (mid-forties). I immediately telephoned the phone number we used to get in touch with Jo-Jo and inquired as to how he died and expressed my sympathies. I cried off and on all day chastising myself for not taking the time to find out that he had diabetes, which is what killed him as he slipped into a diabetic coma. Also, my plans to have the interior of my house painted were certainly shot to heck. Jo-Jo always did a wonderful job with a smile on his face–a very hard worker–very pleasant to have around. Not a day went by that I didn’t think about Jo-Jo since I’d heard the news.

Then, yesterday evening Kenwood called me, his voice shaking, and said: “Guess who I just saw at the grocery store? Jo-Jo!” He went on to tell me that at first he thought he was seeing things (like a double or a ghost), so he went up and shook his hand and talked to him. I said, “didn’t you tell him we thought he died last week and have been grieving him ever since?” Kenwood said, “no, I’m still shaking and can’t even remember why I went to the store!”

So, as I write this, I’m sitting in my office while Jo-Jo is repainting the front porch floor. As it turned out, there’s another Jo-Jo in this small town and we weren’t the only ones who thought “our Jo-Jo Washington” died last week! And, not to worry, we’re treating him like a king!

For once, I learned a lesson the easy way. No matter how busy we may be, nothing is more important than caring for the ones around us and letting them know that we care.

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