Monday, May 2, 2011
With this blog I'd like to remember my first cousin, Jeff, who died on April 29th (at age 52) after a fight with lung cancer. Despite massive treatments it was too late to help him and his heart and lungs were no longer able to function.
Alas, Jeff is one of the many cousins with whom I've long lost contact. Most of this was because of my having lived overseas for twenty years, and only occasionally visiting the U.S. during that time. But on one of those occasions, in July of the Bicentennial Year of 1976, my wife and I spent a lot of time with Jeff in Miami.
We were staying with his mom, my Aunt Polly (mom's sister), and Jeff was terrific in driving us all around to get assorted shopping done for items we couldn't get in Barbados. Every day, for the week or so we stayed with him and Polly, he'd ask us first thing at breakfast: "Is there any place you need to be today? Just let me know!"
Patiently then, he'd first drive us to a nearby High school track where we'd get our exercise in for the day (running a mile and a half at around 7.30 a.m. in the hot Miami sun), then drive us to Malls like Westland in Hialeah, where we could make purchases of needed electronics as well as clothes.
During the evenings, Jeff was also at our service, taking us to see movies ('The Omen', as I recall) with my aunt, then also to his sister Linda's place in Pembroke Pines to partake of a great Italian meal she'd prepared for us all, complete with Asti Spumante.
Never once did Jeff complain, he just selflessly gave of his time and effort to help two people from 1800 miles away. He made that Bicentennial visit to the U.S. vastly more meaningful than it otherwise would've been and for that he'll always be gratefully remembered. I regret we didn't keep in contact more, but this was made more difficult after he moved to Wisconsin to find work (since there was little in his field, in Florida).
Thanks for everything, Jeff!