Tuesday, March 31, 2009

John Jones

I've mentioned before that my three best buddies in junior high all shared the same last name even though they were no relation to each other: Jones. There was Alan, Michael and John.

After 40 years I am supposed to be meeting Alan next weekend, and possibly Michael, if Alan can arrange that. When I spoke with Alan recently, I asked him if he knew what John was doing.

He said Michael had kept in touch with John. John and Alan both played upright bass for our school orchestra that was led by our beloved Mrs. Bicknell. Alan was the better of the two and we used to make fun of John a lot over his bass-playing abilities or lack thereof. John kept at it, though, earnestly practicing the electric bass and he got so good that he became a professional musician.

John was a really nice guy. We used to unmercifully make fun of him, though. He claimed he was part Indian (for which there was no visible evidence), he tried to act like a hippie, and wore these really tight black pants (he was overweight). I was pretty mean - I used to call him "halfbreed" all the time as well as tease him because I knew I could outrun him any day of the week given that his tight pants didn't allow his legs to stretch out very much, lol.

Underneath it though, I really liked him. He was a very gentle, kind-hearted person and a good friend. I was happy to hear that he ended up doing something in life that he really loved (I assume he loved it - he sure liked music in junior high) and I hope that he is really successful now.

Trying to do a people search to locate someone with the last name "Jones" is pretty futile, but imagine searching for "John Jones." I googled "John Jones musician" and "John Jones bass" but the hits I come up with are for the guy in Led Zeppelin, and I don't think John ever got to be that good or famous!

John's also the guy who made a big sacrifice, bowing out when both of us liked the same girl, J.

Back then I was pretty rash and quick to condemn (still am, as you can see from some of the things I post on this blog although I try to be more understanding these days). It was the days of student demonstrations and rioting, of people violently protesting the Vietnam war.

One day John and I were discussing this and I told him what the National Guard and police should do is just fire into the crowds and that would stop these riots pronto.

"You don't mean that, do you?" John asked.

"Yes I do. Just shoot them if they don't listen. If they get shot, too bad - that's what happens if they want to participate in stuff like that, and they get what they deserve," I told him very matter-of-factly."

"Well, what if J was in that crowd? Would you want them to fire into it then?"

"J wouldn't be in a crowd like that," I replied. To me, only the bad folks would be there. "She's not that kind of person."

"Well just suppose she was," John said. "What if she was going to class and accidentally got caught up in the crowd and couldn't get away? You think it would be right for the police to shoot her along with the troublemakers?"

That brought me to an abrupt stop. But since I hate being wrong I just continued arguing with him even though I knew he was right. Not having a decent retort, I probably either made fun of his pants or called him a halfbreed.

Anyway, I think I owe John an apology after all these years. It would be nice if I could actually see him to deliver it in person - maybe after getting together with Alan and possibly Michael, that might just happen.

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