Gently Thru the Door
Johnny Blair worked on my crew at Bear Swamp. Johnny was probably the oldest and best liked laborer on the job. He was a great worker. You never saw him without a smile. Johnny’s health started fading and he died of a heart attack unexpectedly. The wake was held at his home near Pittsfield,MA about forty five minutes from the job and close to two hours from my home in Hinsdale, NH. Several members of our crew car pooled to work on the day of Johnny’s wake. We would go directly from work to the wake after showering and changing clothes at the dryhouse on the job.
There were about sixty people from the job headed to Johnny’s wake. We all congregated at a local bar near Pittsfield for something to eat and a few drinks before the wake. After attending the wake we all congregated back at the bar for a few more drinks. Soon it was midnight and Johnny had been well mourned. He would have been proud of us. Pat McCoy was a good friend of mine and we were riding with two others from Greenfield. Pat wasn’t a big drinker and was pretty unstable as we loaded him up for the ride home. Soon he was passed out in the back seat. By the time we got to Pat’s house he was beyond wakening.
As we approached his house we shut off the engine and coasted to a stop at the curb. We quietly stood him up and headed for the front door. Ann Marie and the kids were all asleep in the dark house. Our first intention was to ring the doorbell and face the music. We knew Ann Marie wouldn’t be happy. Luck was with us. The door was unlocked. We gently and quietly got Pat inside the entry far enough to close the door, put him down on the hardwood floor, and quietly made our escape.
We were a sad looking crew when we showed up for work the next morning. Pat was the only one who didn’t make it. It was late morning before I could get to a phone and call Pat to see if everything was all right. He sounded half dead when he answered the phone. He didn’t know we left him on the floor. During the night he woke up without a clue of where he was. He found his way onto a couch in a small sitting room off the entry way. Nobody knew he was there as they went about their normal daily routines. Fifteen minutes before my call one of the kids discovered him still sleeping. I never said a word about how he got in the house.
Johnnie Blair had a big wake………we were thankful Pat didn’t need one too.