I only knew Jimmy for a year and that was in 1964. We met at Walkers slaughterhouse the day the foreman sat me in Jimmy’s pen for an aptitude test.
I never knew Jimmy as anything other than a gentle man, ever smiling it seemed and always pleased to see you, even at the Pass, which was part-owned at the time by Jimmy and his brother and sister. Formidable surfers. Especially when all of them were on the same wave.
Jimmy and I shined up to each other the longer we worked together in that place. So much so one day he invited me to sit with him and his brother for lunch. John.
I wonder if he remembers that day.
Did I say that Jimmy had a streak of mischief in him as wide as the highway?
Because lunch was sitting at the top of the shute watching Les despatching cattle with his bolt gun. What Jimmy was hoping for, I later learnt, was for a cow to survive a non-fatal shot and get to its feet in the middle of the butchers on the slaughter floor.
I remember Jimmy driving a dusty red Merc through town, boards stacked on the roof, Campbells and Keevers inside and all heading somewhere bound to be good, and uncrowded. Mick Trenerry and I must have looked so pathetic he stopped and invited us to go with them.
Jimmy’s mum put me up in her home for a week or so when I was between jobs, fed me breakfast lunch and tea. I will always remember that table, her and the family’s welcome. That was the nature she shared with all her children. Generous, lively, like Jimmy.
He was a friend of mine.
Jimmy died on June 18th and his funeral is at Byron’s Uniting Church next Wednesday.
consolantibus ad familiam meam