Yesterday morning I was somewhat less than thrilled when Jim left the hotel early on and showed up with his high school friend Big Joe. He'd invited Big Joe to eat breakfast with us and then go visit another pal of theirs that owns a company that makes green cleaning supplies.
It's not that I don't like Joe, it's just.... weird.
Keep in mind the first time I met Joe on a visit to Michigan I was a newly minted Christian with kids who were 4 years old and 7 years old. We arrived at Joe's parents house, Jim, the kids and myself, to find Joe smoking a joint and watching porn. I learned later from Jim that whenever I came into the living room Joe would switch from hardcore porn to MTV.
That visit was a strange one. Me, all up on my new high Christian high horse looking down my nose that this VERY craven sinner while protecting my childrens... cometojesusNOW! Joe and his cursing, bickering, chain smoking elderly parents weren't who I wanted my children exposed to and I could just see how much they needed Jesus, yet they were deaf to my witnessing to them.
When we left I harangued Jim about his friendship with this stoned loser that could not keep a job and it was some years before I saw Joe again. In fact, during one of Jim's trips to Michigan when Andy was a teen I had something of a fit after learning that Big Joe gave my 16 year old son beer and smoked pot with him. I kept trying to point out to Jim that allowing our son to smoke marijuana with Joe was akin to giving him permission to smoke it all the time. When Jim complains about Andy's smoking pot I point to that moment when Jim said okay.
Needless to say it didn't exactly make me 'like' Joe.
But... Big Joe has had his share of problems and I've gotten to witness the difference it has made in Joe's life that my husband has been part of Joe's world, encouraging Joe, helping Joe get situated with the right help from the VA and the Social Security folks. Joe's not quite the same dope smoking, porn watching fiend I thought he was.
Still didn't make me like Joe much and I've been around him again three years ago. My main problem with Joe now is that he is a chain smoker and my asthma has been insane this week.
But yesterday we spent the day with Joe and I had a great time! I see now what Jim sees, that Joe is really more like a child than a grown man. We went to lunch, to the farmers market and we hung out with Joe at his favorite dive bar. I, urr, sort of tied one on at the bar because I haven't drank much in a long time and it didn't take many Pabst Blue Ribbons before I got tipsy.