Goodbye My Friend John

In memory of my lost  friend John Thomas Wright, this post will run until 06-15-2011.  I will then resume regular posting on that date.

There is only one thing in this big old world that never takes a holiday. 

And that is death.

One of the things about dealing with loss, is the fact, that you always feel there was something left un-said, one final goodbye, I wish I had the chance to …… Unfortunately, a lot of the time, it doesn’t turn out that way.  In this particular case it was just that way. 

My good, close personal friend has died, a massive heart attack without warning.  I feel cheated, I feel robbed, and I feel sad.  Please don’t confuse this with Brother John, in PA, my computer friend who shares the page with me often. 

This John, is John Wright, a Locomotive engineer on the same railroad that I retired from.  I used to call him “Little Brother.” Just months away from retirement, we often joked and talked about it, a milepost he sadly will never see.. A time we sadly will not share together.  This is the nature of things this day.

Today I don’t get to write the things I like to write about, the weird and whacky things that make me smile, the offbeat and the colorful, today I have to write about the passing of my friend, John.  Today is not a day that makes me smile, nor should it, because this is never a happy experience for anyone.

John was standing on the rear platform of a BNSF Locomotive the other day in Winslow, Arizona fixing to make a trip back across the mountains at Flagstaff to Needles, California, when he had a massive heart attack and he died.  Just another trip across the mountains.  Something that he had done thousands of times in his long career, but this day, it was not to be so. One of the things that I hate about it more than anything is that “he died away from home” such is the life of a railroad man. 

I didn’t care for that at all.

So I have kind of been dealing with that, and that is why I am sort of backed up on the comments section of all this.  It will be a day or two before I am back into the routine, I am sure you will understand.

Being at a point in life where I am attending far too many funerals and no longer going to weddings, it doesn’t seem to get any easier.  Last year I was dealing with this very same issue, and I suppose next year, it will be the same.  Knowing that you have the strength, faith in God and the convictions to face it head on, doesn’t make it any better, it just makes you capable of understanding it in the end.  I am really going to miss this guy, and there is already a void in my life, because of his sudden untimely passing.

There is an old story about a Preacher and a Railroader who both died on the same day.  And when they arrived at the Heaven’s Gate, they were escorted in and an Angel checked their names in the book of life and they were assigned their respective rooms in heaven.

The next morning, they both happened to meet in the cafeteria and the preacher looked at the railroader and he said, “What is your room like?”  And the old railroader said, “I got a pretty nice room, I have to admit.  I got this big screen television; central heat and air, even got one of them Jacuzzis deals in the bathroom.  Pretty nice set up.”

The preacher was livid, he said, “Man, something is wrong here, really wrong.  I got this little dinky bed, just barely holds one person, a sink, 10” black n white television.  Someone needs to do something about this!”

So they both went back up to the front desk and approached the Angel in charge.  The preacher said to the Angel, “Hey?  Both of us checked in yesterday at the same time, I am a preacher and he is a railroader.  I got this dinky little room, barely a television, air conditioner in the wall.  He has a 62” big screen High-Def-Television, central heat and air, Jacuzzi in the bathroom the whole nine yards!  What gives?”

The Angel smiled and said …… “We get preachers every day in heaven, no big deal.  But he is the FIRST RAILROADER we ever got.”

It is my sincere, profound hope, that my friend John is in Heaven today and that he has a really swell room. 

So Little Brother, reach down, grab you a handful of throttle, slap her in run eight and let ‘er rip, all the blocks are green from here on out …

I miss him desperately already …. John Thomas Wright II …. My JT.



There will only be one post today, this one.

RELATED:  Missing Lil Brother

6 thoughts on “Goodbye My Friend John

  1. I am so sorry for your loss. I can tell by your kind words that he was a wonderful friend and person.

    Hugs to all who are feeling a void :(


  2. Don, I’m so sorry to hear about the passing of your good friend John. 59 years of age seems much too soon for a man to die. His obit says he was always “full of life” and those are the ones most missed when they go. It will certainly be a sad time for his Wife, Children, Grandchildren, Mother, Siblings, and dear Friends.

    I am so sorry for your loss Don. I’m sure you are right that John is in Heaven now and it was good of you to include a little humor in your post today for him. That must have been hard for you to do, but it was a kind gesture! As a railroad man, I’m sure John would have appreciated the humor in that. And being a religious man myself, I’m sure he will have noticed you’ve honored him today.

    What ever you may have had to say yet to John, just say it now. He will hear you my friend.

    Hang in there buddy. I’ll be praying for you and for John’s family. Mostly, if you travel, be safe out there.

    Brother John
    Lansdowne, Pennsylvania USA


  3. Don,
    Sorry to hear about the passing of your friend. It is never easy, especially when it is unexpected. We never know just when we will get the “final call.” We can only live out our lives as best we can and hope we are remembered well.


  4. Oh Don, I am so sorry. I feel your pain. I wish there were words to say that could make you feel better – but the truth is when you lose such a good friend it is good and right that you grieve. The closer the friendship the more it hurts. I’ve been there … I understand.

    Take your time. Your friends will still be here when you’re ready …


  5. Dearest Don,
    You words of tribute to your special friend John are so truthful and touching. It is easy to relate to your feelings of loss. I am so sorry for your loss. It is times like these we find how some special friends are even closer than family. Take your time and share your feelings about John. My heart tells me this good man is up there looking down. He has gone to young and oh so quickly. He will will be forever young and not suffer the ravages of ill health.
    Surely he is there with the others from the Railroad moving along the tracks to all those who were waiting for him in heaven.He was a lucky man to be loved so much.
    God Bless


  6. My Alabama Slamma! How are you doin’ girl? I am so glad you stopped by, how is everything down there in the DEEP SOUTH. I have been missing you.

    Yes, John has gone on and it has been a sad week, but things are improving and I know that he is fine, I am not worried about JT. He is okay.

    A lot of people came on board and did their best to help me thru it and I found out I had more friends than I thought I had, so that was great.

    Don’t be a stranger …… C’mon back and git yu some more.



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