I Never Knew His Name

When you travel through many years as a “denizen” of the Trade Days, flea markets and yard sales of the South, you get to know many people. Some of them are home towners who you have grown up with and who you have known all your life. Some of them are friends who you only meet and see at Trade day, or other “trading” places.

I found out today that one of my friends, who I’ve known for quite a number of years….I’d say at least 10 or 12….maybe more, died of a sudden heart attack about three weeks ago. He was 57 years old.

I knew his first name was Jerry, but otherwise I knew him as “the military guy” He had served thirty years in the military and was from Alabama. He and his friend came to Trade day on Tuesdays every week that it wasn’t raining. He was young looking to me…I’d had not guessed he was 57. He wasn’t overweight, was tanned and fit looking, had a neat black mustache. He knew more about military memorabilia than any man I ever met. If I had something which I wasn’t sure about in the military realm I could ask him about it, and he would probably know. He collected military items, but would never “rip me off” on anything. He bought quite a few things from me.

If it was something good, he would tell me “you need to do a little more research on this before you ask that price on it” which indicated my price was too low. He could have bought it, and I’d have never known, but he didn’t. He had integrity, which is getting to be a rare quality to find these days.

I’m glad his friend came by and told me about him today. He said that Jerry had never had any symptoms of heart trouble. It was quite sudden. I recall what Dr. Ware told me years ago that the first symptom some people have of heart disease is sudden death. I was lucky, I had pain.

It’s happened quite a bit over the years, that somebody just doesn’t show up anymore….and you always wonder what happened to them. You can ask around and sometimes find out what happened, but many times you never know. They just kind of fade away. I’m glad that in this case, at least I know.

As for the “military guy”, my friend, my deepest condolences to his family and friends. He was a good man, and they are hard to find.