Monday, May 25, 2009
Once in a while you meet someone so unexpected that your life is changed by a simple exchange or quiet smile.
For me, one of those experiences happened when I met Joe.
Joe lived in New Mexico, he was an unassuming redneck gentleman, transplanted to the Land of Enchantment from Southern California, a man of few words and a wry sense of humor. He was worn, tired, sometimes almost seeming defeated, but there was something about Joe - not the least of which were his NM skyblue eyes - that charmed me through and through.
He was obviously intelligent, you noticed that in the first conversation. But there was also something unidentifiable, something that made me want to hug this man.
A former sharp shooter and accomplished hunter, he would sit for hours at the range, watching, talking, offering advice on occasion and shooting even less often.
Joe passed away last week. I was fortunate enough to have the time to make the trip south from Albuquerque to Hurley for his memorial service. It was a celebration of the life a man who many probably overlooked, a man who to his friends was much more than a tired redneck. He was charming and unforgettable.
I only met Joe 3 times, but my memory of him is as if I had known him much longer. He made an impression on me, one so deep that I hydroplaned my way south from Albuquerque in the wee hours of the morning and in a raging rain storm to join his friends and family in honoring his life.
It was the least I could do.
So, here's to Joe. I am so glad I met him. May he rest in peace.