I didn’t get to spend much time with Jon in person outside of politics, but we built a friendship through what we do starting out at the old homestead and now over here at GeorgiaPol. Living in the northwest corner of the state makes it a little difficult to make all of the events in and around Atlanta in person although I am there in spirit.
Although we didn’t see each other face-to-face frequently, I still enjoyed interacting with him on here and on social media as our sergeant-at-arms on the weird Facebook thread, affectionately called the #ThreadofDestiny, that was started back in 2013 sometime after the Georgia Republican Party convention.
I’m sure most of you lurk, as Jon would say, the #ToD reading comments. Jon would function as our official comment tallier and historian. I still smile when I think of how eloquently he fulfilled my request to enter into the official #ToD record that Samantha agreed to marry me back in March of 2014.
Charlie has been gracious to allow a bunch of politicos to chat among ourselves about nothing (it’s almost like Seinfeld except not as famous). The only rule is that we don’t talk about politics. Well, that and you can’t use certain words lest you upset Mom Pundit (although, we’ve slipped “a few” times). Not talking politics sounds like an odd rule, but it’s quite refreshing to have a place where you can talk about things other than politics.
The ability to be close with friends from a distance is a testament to our Information Age. And, in spite of the problems that social media can cause, friends that live in different parts of the state, country, or world can still partake in each other’s lives through social media. Through our comments on the #ToD, we built friendships over the past (nearly) 4 years and a quirky community. That community has impacted my life, and I know it’s impacted others. Jon was a big part of that community.
Jon enjoyed politics, but he had a multitude of other interests. From his posts on Facebook, I know he enjoyed golf, flowers, and nature and had the sweetest cat named Susie. That’s why I thought the “Smith Family Kitchen” cutting board that Jon gave Samantha and me as a wedding gift was very appropriate. Not just because I enjoy cooking, but it was made by a family member of Georgia Agricultural Commissioner Gary Black (updated: Cody Hall corrected me: his son-in-law Kyle makes these cutting boards. I remembered Jon saying son or son-in-law.). There may be a connection to politics, but that connection leads to a creative outlet. In my case, cooking. I think about Jon and that story every time I pull it out of the drawer to use it.
I’m thankful I was able to visit him a few weeks ago when he was at Delmar Gardens (although, I wish I had told him about the cutting board). I didn’t realize that it would be the last time I would see him on this side.
He was in good spirits and getting his apartment set up with the help of his long-time neighbors. I helped too because since, as Jon put it, “you’re gullible enough to come over here, I’m putting you to work.” I didn’t do as much as his neighbor friends did, but I was glad to help him find a place for his Keurig machine since he hadn’t had coffee in a while and was ready for a cup. I hope he was able to enjoy a few cups while he could.
I’m thankful that I got to know Jon on this side albeit from a distance most of the time. He may be gone from us now, but I know that he’s pain-free and healed. He had a bigger impact on the #gapol community than he probably realized. He was a great mentor to a lot of young Republicans, an involved community member, and just a genuinely good guy. Thank you, Jon, for being my friend. I miss you.