It is a Saturday morning in the Kentucky spring time and there are many like minded on the ride. First, turning circles in the vast parking lot of EP Tom Sawyer park waiting for our commander to give the word to proceed out into the green rolling hills. Soon, a humming of chains and clicking of drivetrains is comforting as one after another pull through the line of rotating riders.
Jude is there, rocking his head and shoulders as he did, like John Hancock’s signature. He revels in the company of others and all enjoy having him. Never does Jude seem angry or even unhappy. Hey Jude, “how are you?” He answers sincerely, “I am happy to be here.” As one looks up from the rotation at the rolling hills and the mist rising over the farmer’s pond, the obviousness in Jude’s status update is clear. So was Jude, a friend and fellow middle aged rider who enjoyed the game of bicycle racing. He was warm and considerate, but mostly comfortable in his own skin and so we were happy Jude was on the ride.
I knew not of his prowess in the law, but always in the exam room he was in the charcoal suit and white shirt with a legal pad and cell phone. A heart doctor nearly always runs late, but Jude never seemed bothered, only grateful and engaged. He approached his rare affliction with a bike racer’s tenacity and a lawyer’s realism. Before leaving for Minnesota, after my race Jude told me of the statistics, which were not good. Finally, a crack in his voice and the tiniest of tear in the eye. He notices his emotion and changes immediately to “John, you raced well.”
Selfless and concerned for others was Jude. I’m thinking Jude, we better get this procedure done tomorrow and before the thought can be said, he tells me in his breathless voice, maybe in 2 weeks after he gets his son settled in a far away college.
So it is with much sadness, I say another goodbye to a friend, a patient and fellow bike racer. It is obvious we all are better for having known and ridden with Jude.