Oct. 20, 2017

Good and Faithful Servant

“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8

That, friends and neighbors, was the life verse and conduct code of my best friend, my walking buddy, my oatmeal cookie aficionado, my Dancing With The Stars critique partner and the one and only love of my life, John Davis. John left us Monday morning, October 9th at about 6:30 a.m. as a result of complications of pneumonia coupled with a virulent lung infection that none of us can figure out how on earth he encountered such a thing.

Some years ago when our oldest grandson, Michael, was born, I took our Texas daughter, Crissy, who was then 8 years old, with me and we flew to Connecticut where our daughter, Leah, was living...small side trip here... we loved seeing pictures of pregnant Leah scraping snow off her windshield while wearing sandals. You can take the girl out of California but you can’t take the California out of the girl! Anyway, I wrote John a note and told him then, “You are the other half of my heart.” That never changed. We have been married 50 years as of last April 1st and while I am walking and talking and doing all the things that one has to do at this sort of time, I am doing it with half of my heart. So many people, hundreds actually and that’s not exaggerating, have sent me notes on Facebook and other places telling me how John changed their lives and loved them unconditionally. He was, literally, the kindest, dearest person I’ve ever known.

John did things like taking my hand, looking deep into my eyes, when I was in my late 30’s and saying, “It’s really important to me that you floss!” “Fine,” I said, “I’ll floss.” Now it’s habitual. He did the same thing to our daughter, Patti, made her promise she’d floss for a year. John was a gentle soul who loved serving breakfast to the homeless of Pasadena at Church in the Park with Pasadena First Church of the Nazarene. He was in charge of grits and of telling people how happy he was to see them and just generally being a sweet and loving guy.

One of the happiest times of his life, mine too, was when we taught the young singles Sunday school class at church. We started with four girls who were in their early twenties and eventually we had over 30 young people. The Jabez Group. How we loved them and how they loved him. Many marriages and babies have come out of that group of young singles. They speak of him and the advice he gave, always solid, always loving.

John was born in the California Hospital in Los Angeles on June 16, 1933. His parents, Jay and Leila, supported him in whatever he needed to do, including drilling holes in the walls to rewire certain areas to work the way he thought they should. Of course, he also let me paint our kitchen bright orange and yellow and our bathroom bright yellow and green without complaining. He attended USC where he received his Bachelor of Engineering degree in 1955 and his Master’s in Engineering in 1959. He loved the radio business and did technical work for so many stations. In fact, he loved radio so much that we built and owned our own radio station, KROR-FM, The Mighty Roar of the Desert from 1988-1994. We always referred to our radio years as, “The Best of Times and The Worst of Times!” He also hosted folk music radio programs starting in the 1950’s on the first FM station in Los Angeles, KCBH-FM and later on KPFK-FM, “Heartfelt Music.” This song, “My Baby’s Gone,” he played so many times came to me when I knew he was gone:

“Hold back the rushing minutes, make the wind lie still.

Don’t let the moonlight shine across the lonely hill.

Dry all the raindrops, and hold back the sun.

My world has ended, my baby’s gone”

John loved Sierra Madre. When we were about to get married in 1967, there was no question about where we’d live. Sierra Madre...where you see deer wandering in the street, where people are friendly, where we found the house of our dreams, a 100 year old beauty on 2/3 of an acre where we raised our children, Leah, Patti, John and Crissy. Where we’ve had hundreds of parties, barbequed tons of hamburgers and hot dogs, sat around the pool with so many friends and laughed and talked.

When we knew that John’s days were coming to an end, that’s what we did, the family – which has grown to be quite a few wonderful people, 13 grandchildren, 5 great-grandchildren - and I, we sat and stood around his bed and laughed and talked and told stories, and prayed and wept and hugged and so many people came in and read the 23rd Psalm: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me...” John loved God with all his heart and soul and prayed frequently to be a better disciple for Him.

Walking Sierra Madre will not be nearly as much fun without my walking buddy to talk to and laugh with and admire the gardens all over town with, but I will do my best as that’s what he would want. He’s dancing with the angels! And has heard the words, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter now into the joy of your Master!”