Dear James,
I am writing this as if I am talking to you. I want you to know that although we were
never close, we were not only cousins, but friends. On many occasions, the phone
would ring and it would be you. We would talk about "Old Times", or some project
that you were working on. Sometimes you would talk to Pat when I was not home.
You soon learned not to call after 8 pm because I would already be in bed asleep.
You respected this. You also soon learned that I would not be home on Thursday
nights because I would be playing tennis. You loved a good joke, which we
sometimes would share. You would tell me about your neighbors and I will not use
your "politically incorrect" term. You were not a politically correct person. But your
neighbors were your friends and they knew that you were sincere. Often you
would call and ask how my garden was doing or if my tomatoes were ripe yet.
Sometimes you would call to ask how to get something to grow...ha, like I knew. My
gardening was not all that great!! Perhaps it was last year when you were trying to
find out why your squash was not producing. Once you told me that you "dumpster
dived for your plants. What? Yes, Home Depot threw away some plants and you
rescued them out of the dumpster and they were producing. Sometimes I would
call you back when I saw your caller ID, but sometimes I missed your call. Recently
I had not heard from you in some time and I called your number, only to get no
answer. I knew this was not right. You always either answered or called back in a
short while. Some time later I called again and when I heard your voice, I knew
something was wrong. You always sounded upbeat and positive. I asked you what
"what's wrong" and you said "didn't Lewis call you?" And when I said no, you told
me  you had cancer and that they were treating you. James, at the time I did not
snap that you were in the hospital. You said you had been the hospital two weeks,
but I thought you were home. I finally realized that you were in the hospital bed
and could barely talk. James, I didn't want to keep you long, but I wanted to tell
you about the hot pepper that suddenly sprang up in my backyard. I did not plant
it. Over our many conversations, we often spoke of Hot Peppers and we would
exchange ideas. This voluntary pepper I did not know the name and when I
described it to you, you rattled off Chili ....
some thing the other   and my son,
hearing our conversation, confirmed the name because had eaten some like it.
James, I will truly miss our conversations and our discussions.
So Long,
Your cousin, Don  Note: Lewis called me after this last conversation with James
and explained what has happened. James was in the Parkland hospital in Dallas.