Friday Firesmith: This is the hardest thing I have ever had to write…

On September 30, 2011, just over a decade ago, “Going to Pot” the first Friday Firesmith appeared. I was guided to “Bits and Pieces” by a friend of mine who read it first thing every morning, to set the mood of the day, and I had been around for a while before I became part of the activity. 

The first time Jon and I traded emails I had written him to say thanks for the site. I knew how much work went into making something like that happen, and he replied that he enjoyed it, and we talked about the process of what he posted and why. Jon was one of the very few personalities who were actually who they appeared to be. I had lunch with Jon and his wife many years ago, as they were traveling through the state. Both Jon and his wife seemed to ease into a conversation with anyone, warm, friendly, pleasant to be around, nice to waitstaff, and full of stories of being on the road, in one manner or another. We always talked about doing it again, and had not the plague reared its ugly head, I would have made it to Vegas. 

Most of you who have been around for a long time remember the puppy I found back in 2009. He wasn’t in as bad shape as he might have been for a stray, but Lucas became my dog, and as a Weimaraner, Lucas was photogenic and beautiful. Full of life, and sometimes full of mischief, Lucas was fun to write about. In October of 2013, I found a lump on Lucas’ on the gum his right canine tooth. The first vet I went to see told me it was cancer, and all we could do was go home and wait for Lucas to die. After a week of despair, I decided to go to another vet. He told they could operate, but it would take thousands of dollars, and it had to be upfront. I maxed out credit cards and wrote a large check. I was getting ready to sell my truck, refinance my house, and pick up a second job. 

Jon called me. He had been following the story on my blog, and Jon said he wanted to launch a crowd fund from Bits and Pieces. To make a long story short, Jon saved my house, my truck, and from abject poverty. Jon, and many of the people who are reading this right now, donated money for Lucas the Loki Mutt, and for that I will always be grateful, more grateful than I will ever be able to express, and I will never forget it. 

Jon introduced me to friends I might have never met. People I have met in person now. The crowd fund sent people to me I would never get to meet, but the house in which I’m writing this right now belongs to a woman I met through that effort, and that may yet to prove to be the most interesting story that comes of Jon’s efforts in my life. 

Jon united people and created a world in which laughter was the currency, and off the wall videos and photos was the geography. Jon brought joy into the lives of people who needed it, and he created a community of friends. He was more than some random guy running a website, he was human, he was someone you could talk to, and he was my friend. I never argued with Jon if he wanted to edit out a post, or simply delete it. That happened once in ten years, and I didn’t blink an eye. Jon was a man I trusted. I trusted his vision and insight more than I trusted my own. 

In my life, I’ve never known anyone like Jon, ever.  A singular personality in the world where so many are not, Jon was the real deal. He was who he appeared to be, and he was one of the best human beings I have ever met in my life. 

This is goodbye, Jon. The world is a lesser place for you moving on, and I am diminished for the loss. But everyone who ever knew you was a better person for it, and whatever greets you on the other side, that place too, will become better. Because in the end, that was what you did best, is make the world a better place. 

A dog sitting in the grass

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Take Care,

Mike

25 thoughts on “Friday Firesmith: This is the hardest thing I have ever had to write…”

  1. Beautifully written. I was hoping for one more Friday essay from you. I’m so very glad you did write. I too would have been in Vegas this past year.
    I was trying to think of when and how I first found BnP. I thought it had to be about 2004, but after some reflection, maybe more like 2009 or 2010. Either way, like so many others it is the first place I go when I log on to my computer. It was a beautiful place to be, a lovely community with wonderful people. I think that says so much about it’s creator and moderator. Jonco found funny things and beautiful things to put on here for his followers to peruse as we drank our coffee or tea, or what have you. It was a great start to so many days, and put a smile on my face more than once.
    I remember Sunday chats, and actually laughing at the wit of some of you folks, you’re incredibly quick and sharp and I loved it!! I ALOL’d so many times.
    What an incredibly beautiful soul that man had, on all accounts. I’ve read every comment on this page and on the Facebook post. People like that do not come around often,
    I’m so glad I had some tiny bit of contact with him. I wish I had actually met him in person, I missed both BABBQs. I know they were a blast.

    All of us from all over the World thank you, for every thing. All the laughs, all the comfort you may have brought in the darkest of times, the friendships, the community, for making all of us feel as if we belong. You were the best!

    Love to all of you.

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    • Chick, you are one of those people I would have never met without Jon. Even if he had not had saved my financially, or given me a voice here, knowing you and the other people I’ve met here would have been enough to be forever grateful.

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  2. I’m at a loss for words entirely; I only met Jon in person once ( a few years ago at Ted’s Montana Grill/in Buford GA) but I’ve been visiting this site multiple times a day for at least 15 years and this seems like losing family. I admire your ability to craft such an amazing tribute;

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  3. Thanks, Mike. Same here. You are one of my friends from BnP. He had a wonderful way of bringing people together. I too am forever grateful. You are another beautiful soul I’m glad I’ve had contact with as well.

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  4. Well said and well written, Mike. I remember when you started here, it was my introduction to you. Sorry I’ve not commented in some time, I’m not as ‘vocal’ these days, but I’m around.

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  5. Mike: very well-written for a great man.

    I do not know what will happen to this site, so please let us know your site so we can still read what you write.

    Thank you.

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  6. Mike, I’ve kept checking back here hoping to see words from you, and you did not disappoint. Thanks for those lovely words and story about Jon. He will surely be missed.

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  7. Scoakat, yeah, I remember you from the early days, back when things were simpler, but doesn’t everyone remember the past as being better than it was when it was the present? But thank you. You have been missed.

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  8. Beth, thank you, I just wish I didn’t have to write something like this. Betty White died yesterday, and it seems like 2021 was just trying to be as bad as possible. I think it succeeded.

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  9. Mike, I’ll miss so many of my B&P cohort and you’re certainly one of the most interesting. We didn’t just lose Jonco, we’re losing an empire of old friends. All the best in the future, Mike!

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