Jonco’s Journal – Vol. 14

Dad was very interested in death itself. I remember he had a book about what (medically) happens to your body as you die. I know he would’ve been really interested in seeing what we saw watching him pass.

Having said that – I’m sorry to you readers – for bringing anyone down. But death is what it is. It’s a part of life. The last part, but still a part.

Photos and Songs

If you were able to watch the recording of the celebration – you’ll have seen the photo montages made by my brother, Dave.

Dad was known for making those types of videos. Especially for the club’s Christmas parties.

He would chose a song, and try to fit in pics that went with the theme. I specifically remember introducing him to the country song “My Kind of Bar” so that he could match up pics to the lyrics, and change it to ‘My Kind of Club’.

If there were lots of pics that didn’t really go with a theme – he ALWAYS (it seemed like) used the song “Classical Gas“.

Speaking of songs – at the celebration, Dave played the song “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”.

While I was searching B&P for a certain post – I came across THIS ONE. Where he says that he’d be OK if this were played at his funeral. So I suggested it to Dave and that’s what we did. It wasn’t really a song that made me think of Dad previously – but now, I suppose it will going forward… Which is ok by me.

Finally, this post would not be complete without the mention of Elvis. Dad was a big Elvis fan, and Suspicious Minds always makes me think of him. Two other favorites are I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You and Jailhouse Rock. Really any Elvis song will always bring Dad to mind! 🙂

I’m sure you guys have certain songs that remind you of someone (here or passed), or of some time/event in your life. Please share in the comments.

While the majority of photos were shared in the photo/music montages – here are some that were actually on display. As well as old family photo albums that were set out on the tables.

Dad was an amateur photographer and we have literally thousands of photos – so it was a BIG job to go through them. I picked out the 25 that we used in the formal obituary for the cremation site, and I left the rest of that job to my brother. He was able to make a couple of videos in time for the celebration – which was a big undertaking, and it’s very appreciated.

-Krisgo

A Modern-Day Explorer – The Obituary

Jon (Jonco), 73, died December 28, 2021.

He was the son of the late Benjamin and Ruth. He was preceded in death by his nieces; Melissa and Renee, and his grandbaby Samantha. He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Pat, son Dave (Staci), daughter Kris (Seth), brother Paul (Janis) sister-in-law Gail (Mike), as well as his grandchildren; Renly (Melanie), Seth (Sarah), Vince (Mady), and Logan (Joe). He was also loved by many nieces, nephews, cousins, extended family, friends, and more.

Jon and wife, Pat, owned a series of small grocery stores in St. Louis City for 40 years. He always had a passion for computers and any sort of tech, and upgrading to the latest and greatest. He was a people person and loved communicating, from starting his own newspaper as a child to building web-sites, to writing blogs that are viewed worldwide. He was a loyal, long-time member of the Brotherhood of Gluttons and loved getting together with his Glutton friends. He was a father figure and mentor to many – always willing to lend an ear and give the most open-minded advice he could, even if it wasn’t what you wanted or expected. He loved his dog, Buster. He especially loved getting together with family and playing games.

He and Pat visited 48 states together, most notably an Alaska cruise for their 50th anniversary. He loved all things to do with St. Louis, and they had many dates there. He was a modern-day explorer – searching and scouring the web for entertaining bits and pieces to share with his thousands of blog followers. He celebrated talent in all forms. He was extremely creative, smart, witty, and loved being behind a camera or microphone. He was a story teller, a eulogy giver, a trivia master, a foster parent, a pro shopper, a videographer, a movie lover and movie maker, a magic enthusiast, an Elvis fan, a dinner group member, a photo-bomber, a drone pilot, an athletic supporter, a teacher, a learner, an inventor, a thinker and a consumer of all parts of life. He loved adventure; flying, skydiving, hot air balloon riding, scuba diving, motorcycling, and driving his Tesla. Above all, he was a humorist – he looked for the funny in everyday life.

His list of life advice for others (in his own words): “Find things to laugh about. Spend time with family and friends. Don’t let someone ruin your day. Treat people the way you want to be treated. How you react to things that happen in life is much more important than the things that happen. Practice random acts of kindness. Pay for someone’s meal at a restaurant drive-thru. Remember that you’re not always right and they’re not always wrong; people say things from their own perspective.”

Jon supported many causes and especially those causes that were important to his friends and family, so in that regard – any donations should be directed to your local charity of choice.

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

End of an Era

We are very saddened to report that our dad, Jonco, has passed away tonight. Mom came home yesterday from work and found him unresponsive and with a head injury. He had a major brain bleed from a bad fall. He was ambulanced to a local hospital where they had to put him on life support. Mom and us kids were able to be with him. He ended up in hospice for an hour or two and died peacefully this evening with us all around him.

Thanks for being a friend to dad in whatever capacity you were. If you are reading this we know you are a friend and hope that you take comfort in knowing that he appreciated all of your support over the many, many years of running these blogs. We know for a fact that he considered you all part of his extended family.

As you may know, he did some pre-posting, by setting up posts in advance – so you are sure to see some future posts, that he had planned – we decided to leave them as he had planned them.

We would love it if you comment with a favorite memory of him, whether it’s a personal memory.. or of how these blogs have positively affected you.

Love to all – take a moment and hug each other, and crack open a beer and make a toast to our dad – Jonco.

Dave and Kris

and Pat

That Was Us

A little house with two bedrooms,
One bathroom and one car on the street
A mower that you had to push
To make the grass look neat.

In the kitchen on the wall
We only had one phone,
And no need for recording things,
Someone was always home.

We only had a living room
Where we would congregate,
Unless it was at mealtime
In the kitchen where we ate.

We had no need for family rooms
Or extra rooms to dine.
When meeting as a family
Those two rooms would work out fine.

We only had one TV set
And channels maybe two,
But always there was one of them
With something worth the view

For snacks we had potato chips
That tasted like a chip.
And if you wanted flavor
There was Lipton’s onion dip.

Store-bought snacks were rare because
My mother liked to cook
And nothing can compare to snacks
In Betty Crocker’s book
 
Weekends were for family trips
Or staying home to play
We all did things together –
Even go to church to pray.

When we did our weekend trips
Depending on the weather,
No one stayed at home because
We liked to be together.

Sometimes we would separate
To do things on our own,
But we knew where the others were
Without our own cell phone

Then there were the movies
With your favorite movie star,
And nothing can compare
To watching movies in your car

Then there were the picnics
at the peak of summer season,
Pack a lunch and find some trees
And never need a reason.

Get a baseball game together
With all the friends you know,
Have real action playing ball –
And no game video.

Remember when the doctor
Used to be the family friend,
And didn’t need insurance
Or a lawyer to defend.

The way that he took care of you
Or what he had to do,
Because he took an oath and strived
To do the best for you.

Remember going to the store
And shopping casually,
And when you went to pay for it
You used your own money?

Nothing that you had to swipe
Or punch in some amount,
And remember when the cashier person
Had to really count?

The milkman used to go
From door to door,
And it was just a few cents more
Than going to the store.

There was a time when mailed letters
Came right to your door,
Without a lot of junk mail ads
Sent out by every store .

The mailman knew each house by name
And knew where it was sent;
There were not loads of mail addressed
To “present occupant”

There was a time when just one glance
Was all that it would take,
And you would know the kind of car,
The model and the make

They didn’t look like turtles
Trying to squeeze out every mile;
They were streamlined, white walls, fins
And really had some style

One time the music that you played
Whenever you would jive,
Was from a vinyl, big-holed record
Called a forty-five

The record player had a post
To keep them all in line
And then the records would drop down
And play one at a time.

Oh sure, we had our problems then,
Just like we do today
And always we were striving,
Trying for a better way.

Oh, the simple life we lived
Still seems like so much fun,
How can you explain a game,
Just kick the can and run?

And why would boys put baseball cards
Between bicycle spokes
And for a nickel, red machines
Had little bottled Cokes?

This life seemed so much easier
Slower in some ways
I love the new technology
But I sure do miss those days.

So time moves on and so do we
And nothing stays the same,
But I sure love to reminisce
And walk down memory lane.

With all today’s technology
We grant that it’s a plus!
But it’s fun to look way back and say,
HEY LOOK, GUYS, THAT WAS US!

Thanks, Gene