It started Sunday morning. I began to notice a cluster of hits from the midwest on this blog site. But the people who Googled weren’t looking for me. It was Jim Hollars they wanted to know about. Jim, the Mystery Woman, and I were high school pals and graduated together with the Lubbock Monterey High Class of ’57.
My first reaction was: trouble with the law? Some of my buddies were shady.
Not Jim. He was a retired minister, choir director and baseball chaplain. He was living with the ravages of Parkinson’s.
In my heart, I knew what had happened. Jim had died.
I had not seen Jim in nearly 50 years when he popped up at our book signing in Arlington, Texas, a couple of years back. I would not have recognized Jim until he opened his mouth. He was completely bald and a little unsteady on his feet. That’s when I learned of his battle with Parkinson’s.
And I learned more of Jim’s courage and sweet disposition on his website.
We became close again over the next two years. Because of Jim and his association with the Ft. Worth Cats and the Toledo Mud Hens, the Mystery Woman and I went to see the St.Paul Saints play and laughed with the crowd at the Norman Rockwell kinda schtick. I mean – a pig mascot named Garrison Squealor.
Jim was a writer, too. We gently encouraged each other, the three of us.
I don’t know enough of Jim’s life over the past 50 years to write a full obit, but – thanks to the Internet—his words will live forever. That’s neat.
Until I read his obituary, I never knew Jim was a preacher of the Baptist persuasion. And he never knew I am an atheist. Jim loved his Lord. I don’t happen to. But I loved Jim.
And that’s close enough.