Thursday, April 06, 2006

My Friend, Big Joe

I want to tell you about a friend of mine.
His name is Joseph Richard Garnett, some folks called him Dick, I called him Big Joe.

My friend was a good man, a good musician, a best friend and a great dad. He had a heart as big as the great outdoors and, as I often told him, he had a place to keep it. Big Joe was a big man with a big laugh and a big appetite for life.
And music.
And his family.
And his friends.

I was very fortunate to be one of them.

We lost Joe sometime on Sunday. He started his car to leave his house, went inside and watched a little TV while his car warmed up and simply left us while sitting in his chair. Peaceful. No struggle.

Very, very "Big Joe."

And I loved my friend very much. He was with me through thick and thin ... mostly thin. He bailed me out more times than I can count. He supported me every time I was bashed and pounded by others. Every time I went through a difficult time Joe was ALWAYS there and I could always call him and he would be the first one to show up at Bob Evens Resturant for breakfast and coffee. He loved that place. And we would talk for hours.

The last time I spent with Joe was a few weeks ago. He was tired, his heart was giving him problems and he had diabetes on top of it. But his spirit, as always, was brilliant. He was still playing music, still consumed with his sons Ron and Sean and their families. Still a good dad. Still my best friend.

Oddly enough, when Ron called me Monday before WoodSongs about Joe's passing I was, as you might imagine, upset. I wrote the day of the visitation down wrong and, although I bought the paper with the obit, couldn't read it. I thought I would wait a week and then read through it. Too painful right now. I showed up at the funeral home Wednesday with rachel and MichealB ... only to find out the visitation was the day before and Big Joe had been buried earlier in the afternoon.

I missed Joe's funeral. Can you believe that?
I stood there in the funeral home and I could almost hear Big Joe laughing his a** off at how stupid I was.

They don't make 'em like Big Joe anymore.
I shall miss my friend and all that he meant to me.