I wrote an entry about this woman a long while back. The reason I bring her up is because she came up in a conversation the other day with my youngest nephew. He and I were talking about where some of his peers were going for college. Youngest nephew (AKA YN) has recently graduated from high school. There is one kid among his peers who got a full scholarship to a military college. For those of you who do not know military colleges are tough to get into and tough to stay in once you get there. You have your normal college classes and then you have the military on top of that. I have a lot of respect for the folks who go through that process; I cannot even imagine how tough and competitive it is.
My experience is limited with the military colleges. I did have an occasion to visit the Air Force academy once a while back when a friend’s relative was going there. It was surreal the place was magnificent and everybody saluted me. It’s about all I remember from being there.
Then I was set up on a date with Jams by the Jap and his wife. Jams is a graduate from the naval academy and a marine. I said it before and I’ll say it again it was and still is a tremendous pleasure to consider Jams a friend. Yeah she and I went out on a few dates but we decided to be friends, nothing was ever serious with us. It was a huge time of change for both of us. She was wrapping up being a bicycle messenger (she won the world championship of bike messengers and regularly trounced EVERYONE in the local alley cats) and moving on into teaching, I was heading back into medicine after taking a long while off (16 months) and working in the DenCo bicycle industry after the suicide at one of the hospitals I worked at.
She and I talked a great deal after we both moved on into our respective fields. She had a tough time adapting to teaching and I was going through my own process to get my career started again. We stayed in pretty good touch up until I moved back to Georgia. It was my fault I just did not keep up with her. I had her email but never wrote.
This leads to YN and I talking and I remembered Jams of course. I told him that military academies only take the best and brightest. I remembered one of the things Jams said to someone once when they asked her why she thought she could teach to which she replied humbly “I led men in war.” I about fell off my bike when I heard that because I was so impressed, in short she is one of the most honest, smartest, humble and most down to the earth people I ever met, then without a word will kick your ass in anything either intellectual or physical. Then to top it all off she’s not bad to look at either.
After the conversation with YN I felt bad for losing touch with this friend and kicked myself for not at least touching base with her when I went back out to DenCo this past march. I dropped her an email and left her my contact info. One thing I forgot about Jams is when you email or text her she calls you back. She really does, it’s fantastic. She called me a couple of days later and we talked for about 30 minutes and caught up. Needless to say I was very surprised to hear from her.
She is working on getting another degree this time in psychology then eventually psychiatry in the mean time she has gotten married and still teaches math, AND yes she still rides. She chided me about my lack of cycling and encouraged me to get on the bikes more often especially since I have the summer off. Jams has over the years garnered a lot of respect from me to the point of reverence and admiration. Nothing ever came easy for her and man has she struggled with a multitude of things, she’s a warthog. She’s just damn tough and hard. What makes her so amazing is that she does not realize it. She does not puff herself up and she’ll catch you off guard by being so easy going.
So today after my busy weekend of working and shuttling Mom down to see YN graduate and taking the ex-girlfriend to the airport. I drug out the old red surly and put the cross tires on it, then went for a short ride on the gravel roads around here in rural county Georgia. I took the road bike to the empty bedroom and set it up on the trainer so I could do my training DVD more often.
I have maybe 10-11 weeks until the fall semester starts. I should ride and run as much as possible around here since money is tight for the summer. Really though I have been lazy for the most part. Talking to Jams charged me up a little and made me hopeful for the future. She has overcome a lot and is still going forward; the question I ask myself is why can’t I do the same thing? I am but as we all know for me down time is hard on me. So once again Jams was wonderful and she did not know it. As usual if I told her how amazing she was she’d look nervously to the ground, put her arms behind her back and smile and say “no…no I’m not” and change the subject in a subtle and intelligent way in a fashion that you would not even know she changed the subject. Thanks Jams you’re a helluva a friend!
Thanks for reading.