Last weekend Mr. Bobo and Mr. Beers found themselves socializing at a lovely pool party. It was a great way to spend a hot Saturday afternoon in San Antonio. The temperature was climbing toward 100 and the sun was shining. The pool and our friend’s beautiful backyard provided a perfect Garden Of Eden setting for old and new friends to meet, reconnect, and engage in some splashing about, as well as enjoy some tasty snacks and refreshing adult beverages.
I was sitting on the edge of the pool, modeling my fancy orange sunglasses ($10 Ray-Ban knock-offs that I bought near the Spanish Steps last summer in Rome), and Randal came over and sat down beside me. In the course of our visiting, he asked about an old friend of mine. He couldn’t remember the name, but when provided me with a couple of points of reference and a little description, I knew exactly who Randal was talking about. John Arthur Williams. John Arthur was one of the first friends I had in San Antonio. He made an indelible impression on anyone who spent any amount of time with him. One of the sharpest wits. One of the wildest and craziest people I have ever known. A night out with John Arthur was always a rollercoaster ride. Those evenings with John Arthur Williams always involved several levels of inebriation, sometimes some altered states of consciousness, a whole lot of dancing, and once in blue moon he might even through on a dress and a wig. There was almost always a tornado of chaotic fabulousness swirling around John Arthur.
|John Arthur Williams and Tim Mitchinson. What fun boys!|
John Arthur left San Antonio quite some time ago, and we lost touch. Since then I have tried to Google and Facebook the old boy many times, and always with no success at all. So when Randal brought up John Arthur at the pool party, I decided to look for him again when I got home. And guess what I found? A link to an obituary in the Charleston, South Carolina, Post & Courier, that read as follows:
Mr. John Arthur "Billy" Williams, Jr., 48, of Charleston, SC, a self employed hair dresser and makeup artist, died Wednesday afternoon in a local hospital. His memorial service will be 4:00 PM Monday afternoon, June 15, 2009, in the Open Door Christian Church, 874 Orleans Road, Charleston (Summerall Square). Friends may call at the church from 3:00 PM until the hour of service. Expressions of sympathy and love from his many special friends and loved ones can be given in his memory to the John Arthur "Billy" Williams, Jr. Memorial Fund in care of Dial-Murray Funeral Home, 300 West Main Street, Moncks Corner, SC 29461. Mr. Williams was born February 22, 1961, in St. Augustine, FL, a son of John A. Williams, Sr. and Margaret Aldret Williams Woods. Mr. Williams was a member of the Open Door Christian Church. Surviving are his mother of Jacksonville, FL.; five sisters, Cathy Sweeny of Jacksonville, FL., Theresa Bush of Jupiter, FL., Leigh Casey and Chentell "Boo" Wrenn both of Moncks Corner, and Liane Baker of Goose Creek; a brother, Allen Tucker of Mt. Pleasant; ten nephews and five nieces. Online condolences may be sent to the family via: www.dial-murrayfuneralhome.com. Visit our guestbook at www.postandcourier.com/deaths
|John Arthur, Norma Kristie, and Jim Dickson at the Discovery in Little Rock.|
What do you say? How do you feel? You completely lose touch with someone and when you finally track them down, you find out they died THREE YEARS AGO. When that person was John Arthur, all you can do is pause and remember and smile. John Arthur lived his life fully and fearlessly. In all capital letters. Not just capital letters. Those letters were italicized. In boldface. And underlined.
I am so happy to have lots of great memories of John Arthur. And even though Randal had trouble remembering John Arthur’s name at the pool party last weekend, he remembered him - remembered the character - as anybody who ever met him would - very well.