Life is a Precious Gift / by Kristin Grevich


A friend, a bartender that loved to listen, a man who lived to ride his Harley with a crazy wonderful infectious laugh!  

I told him I find him interesting and would like to paint his portrait.  With his long white beard and a face that sparkled of life, he being a fun loving person said he would love that!  The next time we were in the bar having dinner Jimmy brought me a photo of what he wanted the painting to look like. The photo was of him sitting on his Harley on a beautiful sunny day (mostly of the Harley).  

That was almost a year ago.  For some reason a about a month ago I decided to paint Jimmy his portrait and asked him to send me the photo he wanted painted.  The portrait was almost finished last Thursday when we had dinner at the bar.  Dick wanted me to show Jimmy a photo of the almost finished portrait.  I really wanted to surprise him with the finished painting so decided not to show him the photo.  Dick was so excited about the painting that he secretly told Jimmy that I had the painting almost finished.  He told Jimmy not to tell me that he told him about the painting. 

As we left Jimmy smiled and waved!  We all said our good-byes for the evening.

The following week we decided to have dinner again at the Cho Cho bar.  Before we left I took one last look at the painting and changed some things that had escaped my eye.  It was a beautiful summer evening so we sat outside on the patio.  Dick always orders the same beer with pickles and olives added!  The waitress wasn't familiar with how Dick likes his beer and he said just ask Jimmy he knows.  

The waitress looked at us with saddened eyes, lost her smile and had to tell us that Jimmy had passed on Sunday.  He died in his truck of a massive heart attack after riding his Harley all day with his brother.

I looked at Jimmy's portrait yesterday, had to make a few more changes till I realized it is finished.  It saddened me to look at it realizing Jimmy will never see it.  I so wanted to surprise him if for no other reason than to see his smile again. 

Saturday is Jimmy's funereal with drinks and food later at the Cho Cho bar.  We will all celebrate his life and hope to live ours a little better.