Many people are taking the Great Escape lately. My brother Glenn just a few years ago and alot of friends. Just a little over a year ago I was tailgating in a hot Summer parking lot in Queens New York with a bunch of friends and two brothers. I was just looking at the photos we took and posted on Facebook. Everybody seems so happy and healthy. I spent hours talking with my friend Jonny and quite suddenly I look at that photo today and he is gone. I would need three hands to count the friends that have just disappeared lately.

Jim McSherry was a different story you see. Jim McSherry was strong in muscle and character. Jim McSherry would never die. He never told me he was dying when he was trying to reach out to me. He was never on Social Media, didn’t understand or like computers. I received a few text messages from him and it seemed like he was saying goodbye. I just shrugged it off as his dramatic personality.
I am so happy that I did call him….. finally. We talked for several hours. He told me a story of how a long time ago his wife Susan and his family were homeless. They broke down on the side of the road and a cop pulled over to help them. His help went on for years after that. Eventually giving them a temporary home until they got on their feet. That was just like Jim. Here he was preparing for the great escape and all he could talk about was how someone had helped him deeply in his life and he would never forget it.

I haven’t see Jim McSherry in almost three decades, yet it always seems like he was there in my life. Years would go by before we talked. It is a strange thing to feel so close to someone that isn’t even there.

This taken many years ago. This photo is so old, I was still living home. The McSherrys had moved to Arizona and Jim came back to visit. I beleive his jaw is wired here from a fist fight he had in a cactus filled desert. The location was somewhere in Port Reading by the railroad tracks. It was early morning. I’m impressed with myself to have a camera with me at the time. We were drinking Jack Daniels straight out of the bottle and singing Grateful Dead songs. Jim was playing harmonica. I remember going home so messed up and crawling to bed and staying there for two days. I remember my mother coming to my room feeling sorry for me and helping me recover.

Jim McSherry was a Golden Gloves boxer and part of his training would be to run from his house on Tennyson Street up Harrison Avenue to the VFW and back again. Then he would sprint the last few hundred yards. I followed him on my bike every night when he did this. My mind has taken a photograph of him huffing and puffing, taking off his shirt and recovering from one of those runs. There was sweat poring off him into puddles on the street. I carried this mind photgraph of him with me to this day. Jim McSherry – the strongest, the bravest, the funniest man I ever knew. He took me to places I would have never went without him. His love of life, family, art, music and God were his glowing aura that will last forever.

1 Comment »

  1. Susan McSherry said,

    August 10, 2017 @ 2:33 am

    George, those were some touching words you posted. I can feel your pain between the lines. Thank you for pushing through that and writing some beautiful things. Jimmy was a one of a kind person, always warm, funny, thoughtful, passionate, generous. And talk about a fighter! So much adversity, especially, so many health problems he fought for 17 years. By the time he had a pacemaker put in in 2007 they were saying he had six months if he didn’t get a heart transplant. So he jumped through all the hoops at the Mayo Clinic, probably just for me, but in the end he called them up and said, “Thank you for all you’ve done for me, but I think I’ll keep the heart my parents gave me.”
    I am also glad you responded when he reached out to you, when he really thought he was dying, but then I wasn’t surprised. You always responded and you were never really out of touch completely. Not for too long, anyway. Life does happen to us all, but there are a handful of people that come into our lives that we will always love. Even when we lose touch in the day to day life, when you meet up again, it’s as if no time has passed. We feel the same way as in the past. George, you and your family were that for Jimmy. He never ever forgot your birthday or Jay’s, even if he didn’t always let you know, he told me.
    His favorite joke, when they told him he had an enlarged heart was that that’s what his friends always told him. It was true. He did have a big heart with so much love in it.
    I know everyone has their share of faults. He used to drive me crazy at times. But now that he’s gone, I wish I could think of some, because maybe it wouldn’t hurt so much. But I can’t. I just feel lucky to have known him and to have been loved by Jimmy McSherry.
    Keep in touch.

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