Friday, January 15, 2010

A Strange Incident

Ironic that the post previous to this one was about blogging, then I get an e-mail from a connection to the internet from the past. Years ago, before I started blogging, I was involved on subject forums. I still am to a degree. I am on two Triumph motorcycle forums and an old Chevy truck forum. I gather information about all kinds of things pertaining to my bike or my old 1967 truck.

One of these forums was a biker group I belonged to. Many of the folks were down in the hill country of Texas, around Austin. Others were from Minnesota and closer to where I lived. Still others were from other parts of the country. One year, I think it was 2004 or 05, we planned a meet-up and BBQ picnic along with a few days of riding. The Texas folks were the hosts. They bragged about the beautiful motorcycle riding down there and invited a bunch to come down and get together.

I went down there pulling a trailer with two big Harley Davidsons on it along with my Harley in the bed of the pick up. One of the forum members from Minneapolis rode along with me. Mrs. Spadoman flew down to Texas and attended Cindy Sheehan’s Peace Camp at Crawford, TX, the home of George W. Bush. She stayed in Waco for a couple of days and got involved with the protests going on down there, then drove the rental car to New Braunfels, TX and met up with me.

We stayed at a motel near Austin and did daily motorcycle rides through the hill country. It was as beautiful as they described. We had a lot of time to ride and a lot of time to visit with these friends we met on the internet through the forum. Since these folks all come from different walks of life and had only one thing for sure in common, the motorcycles, it was quite an experience to meet these folks and see them in real life. What they look like, what they do for a living, that sort of thing.

After the visit, some of us stayed in touch via e-mail. That died out as to frequency, but never totally. I still get e-mails from a few of the people I met online first, then in person down in Texas. Some of the folks even came North to visit me and do some riding and still others met me in another state, Tennessee, and we rode together again there.

I’ve met a few bloggers too over the years. I’d be going back and forth and finding a lot in common with someone. If I was going to be out near where that person lived, I’d give them a shout out. We’d meet and have a cup of coffee and talk a while. I’ve done this in South Dakota, Northern California and Southern California, and if the traffic and time didn’t pass so quickly, I would have had that experience on the east coast as well.

Phone calls too. Exchange numbers and talk a while, hearing the voice of a stranger for the first time. I’ve exchanged gifts. Simple things. I’ve fixed up some friends with top quality gourmet coffee beans fresh from the roastery. It helps to have a friend in the business.

Many of these old friends are gone from the blogs. Some have moved on to Facebook. They interact there instead of the blogs. I’ve never done it, but Twitter is another place

where folks interact. There are others too. I am not well rounded and find it hard for my fat fingers to text.

Imagine my surprise when I get an e-mail sent to me from a stranger. It went right to my junk mail box, but I recognized some of the names of the recipients and thought I’d better take a closer look. The subject line had someone’s name in it, a name I recognized. The name of one of the folks down in the Texas hill country. Someone I met years ago who still sends me news about her son and his wife and pictures of her two Grand children. She sends me TGIF notes with hopes of the Dallas Cowboys or the Texas Longhorns football team and her desire for them to win over the weekend.

Her name was in the subject line because she was the subject. You see, she has died. And the possibility exists that it was a violent death at the hands of perpetrators of a break in at her apartment. I don’t know the details, but she is gone, when just a month or so ago she was wishing me a Merry Christmas and showing off pictures of her two beautiful Grand daughters.

To say the least, this made me feel very strange. I e-mailed a couple of old friends from Austin. Of course they remembered me even though it has been over a year since we last made contact. We all felt weird about her death as even though we just knew her, for the most part, as the person on the computer sending jokes from her office at work, we knew her and now she is gone. The circumstances, being investigated by the police, have not been determined. There is evidence of foul play. Very foul play.

I guess I’m just getting my thoughts out on paper. An old friend, someone I used to talk with on a motorcycle forum, someone I e-mailed with kind of regularity, is gone. I guess I feel I’ve been protected, somewhat, from these kinds of announcements. As I age, I hear about people going to the other side. My mother is soon to pass herself. But I have never been notified of a blog/e-mail/forum friend who has passed before. Just kinda makes me feel strange.

Peace to all, and the hope and prayer to the family left behind my friend, Joann Martin.

In Memory of Joann Martin the best friend a person could have.
Joann Martin born November 11,1958 in Liverpool, England, passed away on
January 7,2010. She is survived by son's Jason Martin, wife Meagan and
two beautiful granddaughters, Isabella & Zoe who was her daily
thoughts, and son Eric who was always there. She was a valued employed of
Mitchell's Time & Parking from July 21,2003 until present. She
leaves behind many friends that loved her dearly.

We will miss you so much, all the jokes and laughter we all shared.
You, my friend, were one of a kind. God broke the mold when he made
you. Make sure you keep a good eye on us down here, because we
know you are still here in our hearts and soul.

Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this great time of loss.

Love you and enjoy that Happy Place. See you soon.

Service to be held 1-20-10 at AUSTIN-PEEL & SON FUNERAL HOME INC 607 East Anderson Lane Austin Texas 78752.

Viewing from 9:30 until 10:30 am

Services held at 11:00 am following burial at Travis County International Cemetery 3600 Axel Lane Austin, Texas

Obituary information written by her friend Mandy and sent to me via e-mail.


Unknown said...

I once followed a woman's blog she started when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. I followed it until she died. It does make you feel strange.

I am so sorry about what happened to your friend. It is a sad thing.

susan said...

I think one benefit of blogging is that we learn compassion at a very deep level. None of us knows the time or manner of our passing but we are reminded by events such as this that it's best always to be kind. I too wish her well on her journey and no regrets to hold her spirit back.

Mel said...

Oh Joe--made me tearful.

There are holes in my heart--empty places, hard felt memories....places that I visit that the authors won't visit again. You're right. It's a different feeling, one that I wasn't quite sure what to do with. And then I gave myself permission to feel the sadness that came with the loss. Boy was I sad. Still makes me sad, thinking about it.

Real people--not just words on a screen....I was privy to things people in the space of their lives weren't privy to. Funny that--how some folks give themselves permission to put things in black and white but won't give themselves permission to do the same with people they share space with.
I walk with lessons about that. I can fall into that trap--have....

There's a hole in my heart, empty places that are forever changed by the course of the crossing of paths--paths I don't believe happen willy nilly AT all, yaknow?

I'm sorry for the loss of your friend. I'm sorry for how the loss happened....that somehow would make it feel even sadder for me. And I'm sorry it's left you feeling as you do.

I'd just say it's okay to feel everything you do feel--even if that's 'unsure' of what you are feeling, yaknow?

Peace to you, sir.
And I send prayers to the family who's getting to deal with all the pain this loss brings to them.

((((((((( Spadoman )))))))))))

This Eclectic Life said...

I'm so sorry for the loss of your friend. I think I would feel strange, also, to hear about it from an e-mail. But, I suppose that is better than not knowing. My heart goes out to you, Joe. It hurts to lose folks, even if they were not a daily part of our lives. Sounds like this woman was marvelous.