This is my saddest blog post ever, because yesterday a friend and mentor passed away: Jim Jung, (pron: Young) -- the man behind the Waterman and Hill-Traveler's Companion, and one of the smartest and most generous people I have ever known.
It surprises me that more people don't know Jim, but he followed Thoreau's principle of having 'one chair for solitude and two for company', when he wasn't out-and-about, tromping in the woods, or selling ads for the almanac, or watching CSPAN or quirky tv show like Firefly (on DVD).
Jim always had time for kids and friends in need. He helped me out many times, with a loaned tool, or pick-up truck and other occasional necessities of life. Many evenings he would entertain me, or other friends, in one of the free chairs in his living room. (If there was a crowd of three a footstool could be cleared off).
To other family friends, he was "Uncle" Jim, who enjoyed taking young folk on nature hikes, in search of sirens or morrels and other woodsy wonders. In his younger days he used to cave, keep bees, make beer and wine and meed. He was widely read, and always had some scientific monograph or book of natural history book in progress.
The sad thing is that Jim's career as a natural historian was just starting to take off. His book Weird Egypt was just published, and his almanac was gaining more readers and advertisers yearly, and he had started writing a monthly column for the Carbondale Times. and there was a very nice profile of him in The Southern Illinoisan about a year ago. [link]
Visitation for Jim will be tomorrow at Huffman-Harker Funeral Home at 210 W. Oak St. between 5-8 p.m. The funeral service will be held at the same location on Sunday at 1:30 p.m.
His wife Ruby gives more details on the Waterman and Hill-Travelers web site.
And there will also be a memorial service for another Carbondale fixture who recently passed away: Lynn Raben, who ran the Tropicana Vintage Clothing Store. Another case of fond memories for me, of hanging out with her on the porch in summertime, brainstorming for ideas about all kinds of things. Lynn was a seeker, who had 'a thing' for Ralph Waldo Emerson, the great American philospher (her license plate was EMRSN).
There will be a memorial service for Lynn in the Backroom of The Branch, where Tropicana was located originally, befor it moved into the building back behind the Longbranch Coffehouse.
I only broke down crying once while writing this.