Forgot your password?

We just sent you an email, containing instructions for how to reset your password.

Sign in

  • It was the early 90's and we started living together. We went dancing almost every Saturday night at the local VFW as we both loved to dance and on Sundays, he would watch the 'game' and I would go out in my studio and paint, and we got along just fine. Sometimes I would watch John Wayne movies with him and to the best of my memory, his favorite one had a scene about a guy laying in bed wounded, and the doc says, we're gonna' have to cut your leg off to save you, and JW pulls out his gun and says I'm gonna die with my boots on.

    After 3 or 4 years, he began having physical challenges. His brother had been diagnosed with cancer of the throat, and his tongue was slowly swelling and becoming huge. He was granted veteran's benefits from effects of Agent Orange a couple of months before he died.

    Johnny was diagnosed with a cardiovascular disease. We had just gotten computers and internet at work (Netscape) and he asked me if I could find any research on whether there was a connection between Agent Orange and cardiovascular disease. I found a government site and the research there, said there was a connection between the two. We didn't have our printers hooked up yet, so I couldn't print it out. About a week later, they were hooked up and when I went back to the site, it required a government password to get into the information. He applied for VA benefits and got turned down.

    His leg began swelling and we didn't dance so much anymore. Eventually he had a special shoe to wear when it swelled so badly that he couldn't get is tennis shoes on. He said, he was gonna die with his boots on. I said, how ya gonna do that, wear one boot? You can't even get them on anymore. His leg continued to worsen and he went in for surgery to have the veins in the good leg put in the bad leg, but they got it backwards and put the bad ones in the good leg (no, it wasn't at the VA hospital that this happened, although he had an incident there later where they gave him too much morphine or something and he almost died.) They suggested that he have his leg cut off, but he said no, he was gonna die with his boots on.

    Over time, he got worse and eventually needed his own place because my shower was in the bathtub, and he needed a walk in shower and not so many steps, so he moved out. We stayed friends and would talk on the phone visit back and forth. He told me that when he got really bad, I was not to come see him. He was in and out of the hospital and I didn't see him for awhile.
  • In March of 2014, I had a dream about him and tried to call him but the line was disconnected and I couldn't find his cell phone number. I drove over to his place and there was a 'For Sale' sign in the yard. After several tries, I got his sister in law on the phone and she said that he had bought a small house down the road and had then gone in the hospital and his leg was so bad that they cut it off. He was in rehab and would be there for a few months, but she said I could go see him. I asked her for his cell phone number but she didn't have it and I told her to let me know when he got out of rehab so I could go see him because I wanted him to be walking and not so bad that he didn't want me seeing him.

    I didn't hear from her and I went up to Illinois to see family toward the end of June. The night of July 3rd, I met some school friends for a night on the town where we grew up and I stayed overnight at a bed and breakfast, with one of my friends who came out from Chicago. It was a warm night and I had the window open in my room and a nice breeze was blowing the curtains, and woke me up in the middle of the night. I felt a loving warm presence and I knew that Johnny's essence was in the room with me. I smiled and went back to sleep.

    When I got back to Tennessee later in the month, I finally got up the courage to call his sister in law again. I didn't tell her about the dream, but I asked her if Johnny had gotten out of rehab yet. She said Michael (Johnny's brother) had a heart attack in May and she had been able to get Michael over to see Johnny before he died. I said I was sorry Michael had died and was Johnny doing OK, no, Johnny died before Michael did. I asked her when, she didn't remember exactly but it was a day or two before the 4th of July and Michael died a week later.

    So he came to say good bye to me. I have not gone to the cemetery to see his tombstone and what day he died. I just know that he came to say goodbye.

    Good bye, my good friend, I miss you.

    About a year later I was going through my old address book and found his cell phone number.
  • Dear John, part 1 is found here,

    I was unable to find that John Wayne line through online search, so I don't know what movie it is from or the exact quote.

    This was written rather rapidly as I wanted to get it and one or two other stories finished before Cowbird closes its doors and shuts us down.
    • Share

    Connected stories:


Collections let you gather your favorite stories into shareable groups.

To collect stories, please become a Citizen.

    Copy and paste this embed code into your web page:

    px wide
    px tall
    Send this story to a friend:
    Would you like to send another?

      To retell stories, please .

        Sprouting stories lets you respond with a story of your own — like telling stories ’round a campfire.

        To sprout stories, please .

            Better browser, please.

            To view Cowbird, please use the latest version of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer.