I had a hard time sleeping last night.
I kept relieving all of our many memories… seeing your face, hearing your voice. Even though it has been awhile since we have "seen" each other, it always felt like no time had passed at all. Whenever I was having a rough time or a bad day, I would pull up your blog and read your latest. You always had a way of making me smile, of helping me feel better, and of challenging me to see the world through different eyes. What could I possibly do that would adequately honor all you are for me?
I remembered the day we first met.
It was at the Newport Theater. Brad brought you in and introduced you and assigned you to work with me on the concession stand that night. You had a full beard and looked waaaaay beyond your age. At first, some of our co-workers thought you were “weird”, but I just remember you made me laugh. I had more fun at work that night than I had in a long time, and you made the hours fly by.
That was the night my life changed, the night I met you. I knew then that I had met someone very special.
We became fast friends, especially after I learned you were LDS. We talked for hours and bonded over a mutual love of reading, writing, and movies. Pretty soon you let me read drafts of stories you had written. I would mercilessly mark them up and then we would have lively conversations discussing my edits up there in the film booth while you were threading movies. I loved that I could give you honest feedback and you would always take it to heart, never offended. “Tauny,” you would say, “it will only help me be a better writer.” And then we would laugh together. Oh, how you made me laugh!
I remember the day you told me that you wanted to be a writer, wanted to have a book published, and influence the world for the better. I never doubted you could. After re-connecting with you and discovering your amazing blog, I realized that you had accomplished that goal. Maybe not the way you had envisioned, maybe not the way you wanted… but in my opinion, this was even better. Through your blog, you have been able to bear your beautiful soul to the world on a daily basis, in a way you never could through a book. That is something most writers are unable to accomplish in a lifetime of trying.
My mind raced through all the posts I have read on your blog, through all the lessons you have taught me. So much humor and warmth. So many acts of kindness. I have a hard time accepting the fact that I will never get to read another story from Jason, see another amazing picture, read another blog entry. But I find a little solace knowing that the ones we have will always be there, to help me remember.
Suddenly I remembered a certain blog post I had read some time ago… I grabbed my IPad and did a quick search, found the entry I wanted and read through it again. I knew what I needed to do.
Smiling, I made plans for the next day, and sleep finally overcame me.
At 3:48 PM, my last meeting of the day finally ended. I grabbed my things and almost ran to my car, giddy with excitement. As I drove around I wondered where I could go that would make my tribute perfect. I probably went to three different places before I finally settled on a destination. I had butterflies in my stomach.
I pulled into the parking lot, got out of my car, and entered the convenience store. I glanced at the cashier and noticed a bald headed, tired looking older guy with a stern look on his face. Walking over to the ice cream machine, I saw there were three flavors. Vanilla, Adventure-Berry, and Swirl.
“Adventure-Berry. How appropriate,” I thought, as I made myself a cone.
As I walked up to the counter, I wondered what the cashier would say and whether he would even agree to the scheme. As doubt crept it, I saw two missionaries walk in and smiled to myself, resolve firm. I knew what I had to do. This was meant to be.
“Hi, will this be all for you?” the serious looking cashier asked.
“No, I want to pay for four. One for me. Then, see those missionaries over there? Please let them each get a cone.” I saw the question in his eyes. “In memory of a friend, that passed away.” My voice cracked… he looked at me and I knew he understood. “Give the last one to someone who comes in and looks like they need it. Tell them it is from someone who wanted to brighten their day. You can even have it yourself, if you want. Thanks so much,” I said, as I grabbed the change and receipt.
“You have a great day,” he said to me, then glanced over to the missionaries. I almost ran out in my effort to not let anyone see the tears in my eyes. I got in my car before anyone could stop me, or thank me. I drove up the road and into a deserted parking lot to let the tears run freely down my face.
For you my friend. I will never forget you.
Finishing my cone, I flipped the car around and headed home. As I drove, I smiled as I passed two missionaries who were laughing and enjoying their Adventure-Berry cones. Then I made a silent promise.
I promised that this will not be last time.
Jason was always challenging people on his blog to do random acts of kindness, and he was always doing them himself.
Sept. 9 is Jason’s birthday. Wouldn’t it be cool if, on that day, the many people that he has touched band together to remember him by following his example and performing random acts of kindness? Think of the happiness we can create, the days we can brighten, the small difference we can make in the life of even one person. Will YOU accept the challenge?