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.
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.