R.I.P. Johnny Martin


June 20th, 2007

Well I did it. It took me staying up all night, but I completed Johnny’s eulogy. 

As a result, work today was a bit of a grind. I am one waxed individual! But I didn’t let no sleep keep me from putting in my usual effort at work. Matter of fact, I outperformed pretty much everyone on the crew… again.

Post dinner now and I just returned from another visit with Reverend Lon. I brought him the eulogy I’d prepared to get some guidance and/or feedback. While I doubted any disapproval from him over what I’d penned, it was still encouraging to gain his approval. He seemed rather impressed actually, leaving me feeling…

In Honour of Johnny Martin, 

1971-June 17th, 2007

If Johnny were the skies, he wouldn’t be cloudless and sunny, suggestive of carefree joy. Nor would he be roiling and thunderous. For brooding and ominous don’t describe his weather. I’d say that he would be more mutable, as in springtime. Clouds that could just as soon release some of their moisture as allow the diffuse rays of the sun  to dapple the ground below. Perfect conditions for rainbows and their mystical ends. 

If Johnny were the earth, he wouldn’t be arid and lifeless, parched grains that sift through one’s grasp. Nor would he be mud. Clingy and lacking structure, incapable of supporting the weight that bore down on him. I’d say he would be firm and rich. The crops of his experience grew rapidly, were firmly rooted, and the remainder after harvest helped to nourish the next. 

If Johnny were a fire, he wouldn’t be smouldering for a lack of fuel, in peril of being extinguished. Nor would he be raging, consuming all that lay in his path. Uncontrolled and insecure. I’d say he would be established and composed. Hot, were you to get too close but pleasantly warm if you didn’t encroach too far. The coals beneath shifting and dancing in their colours of red, orange and yellow. 

If Johnny were water, he wouldn’t be shallow and stagnant, at risk of evaporating in the the heat of the sun. Nor would he be a torrent that runs over its banks. Inviting grief and strife with its deluge. I’d say he’d be a lake. Welcoming the alpine runoff of friendship and in turn giving forth the same to its streams. All the while preserving his soulful depth. 

Yet Johnny was a man. He wasn’t driven to proving himself, as do some, and in doing so revealing that he hasn’t quite attained such a station. Hoping, wishing or needing. Nor was he of broken spirit and withdrawn, suggestive that life had got the better of him and won. Regretting, forsaken or forlorn. I saw that he was a man ho was full, to the very extent of his flesh, with the confidence he earned from experience. The strength to withstand the trials and tribulations of his existence and the wisdom to not belabour its fickle fate. 

I’ve oft times pondered the cliché, ‘everything happens for a reason.’ And admittedly it may take some time for us to reconcile the reason for the passing of this ‘good man,’ Johnny Martin. But from my perspective, and that of all the guys of Campbell House who came to know, respect and appreciate him, the shared time we had provided us opportunity to glimpse the colourful rainbows of Johnny’s keen intellect and sharp wit, treasured no less than the pot of gold purported to be at their end. 

The chance to share in and learn from his experiences, that perhaps our own harvests will lead us to give humble thanks. 

To have felt the warm fires of his friendship, that we might strive to kindle the same with others. 

And the feeding of our souls through the continual exchange of giving and receiving friendship as we seek our own respective balance. 

In happening to meet and befriend Johnny, be it playing cards, billiards or backgammon, or in the many shared conversations that put a premium on laughter, the more uproarious the better, I begin to see the reason behind the intersecting of our lives. The example he poses, be he the skies, earth, fire or water, lend insight to the man he was. These traits of his character are both admirable and worthy of trying to aspire to ourselves. And it is for this reason that we are all gathered here today, to celebrate the life of our good friend.