I first knew of Bo from following MsKatykins’ Spineless Wonders cartoon blog. I don’t remember if she pointed me to him, or if I began following him because I liked his comments to her. He seemed like a right nice fella.
Bo hosted two WordPress blogs: I’ve Been Thinkin’ -and- Gatorhead Comics. On I’ve Been Thinkin’, he posted his humorous stories and sayings, cartoons, and some of the beautiful copper jewelry he made. Gatorhead Comics was his cartoon site where I became familiar with Hank the Handyman, Kurt and Burt, Mildred and Aunt Edna, and Chester and Phil – both buzzards. His Geezerhood comics were some of my favorites.
His love of laughter and love of life came through in everything he wrote.
At first, I read and “liked” several of his posts. My first comment to him was after he made one small post: “I am writing this from a touch screen pad in St. Dominic hospital in Jackson. I came in by helicopter. Last. Night. It seems that so far I have survived another heart attack. I will try to keep you updated. :-)”
A smiley face! That was Bo. He put a smiley face after his news about having a heart attack – and obviously not his first one.
That was November 18, 2012. Over the next year, a friendship was formed. You couldn’t visit Bo’s blog without getting to know him and becoming friends. He was outgoing and caring. He was supportive, and he left great comments everywhere.
When I posted my story about ants, Bo commented: “Once I was standing outside the church when I noticed fire ants on my hands. I was covered. I had to run inside to an empty room and take my suit off. I couldn’t get nekkid right there in the parkin’ lot full of people but I did think about it.”
When I posted about losing weight, he commented: “Way to go. Good luck with it. I have finally got my weight down to what I didn’t want it to get up to.”
When I was so stressed about writing and riding the roller coaster, he wrote a poem for me:
This roller coaster of which you mention,
Should never be a source of tension,
It is the ups and downs you see,
That fill our life with joy and glee,
Sometimes the train climbs with stress,
And the sudden drop is none the less,
But as we breathlessly dismount the train,
We look back with a sigh, “Let’s go again”
Some upside down twists and turns,
And oh, how our stomach burns,
We stretch and grow from all the strife,
On this roller coaster we call Life.
When I gave away free copies of Windy City Hunter, Bo requested a copy – and read it! He delighted me to no end when he commented: “I finished “Windy City Hunter” last night and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a great read and knowing that you wrote it in a month made it that much more fascinating. Thanks for the copy.”
He wrote a private email to me later telling me more reasons why he enjoyed the book so much and encouraged me to look for a print publisher. He was always incredibly supportive.
On November 1, 2013, I left a comment on his blog, but then I became busy with National Novel Writing Month and didn’t go back until December 12. I was absolutely heartbroken to find he had passed away shortly before Thanksgiving. I never met the man in person, but he was my friend, and I cried for days. I think it especially hurt my heart that I had no way to say goodbye to him.
I was writing Maple Leaf Hunter at the time. Susan, Mick, and friends were going to a hunting/fishing lodge in Canada. The owner was a friend of Mick’s from college. On the porch, sitting in a rocker, wearing a fisherman’s hat and overalls was the father of the owner’s wife – Beau.
Bo knew I was going to use him as inspiration for the Beau character in my book. He had already approved the idea that my character would tell anyone who would listen to him some of Bo’s sayings and stories.
I went forward and wrote Bo into my book as an elderly man (Bo was only 63), but I didn’t use any of his writings. I wasn’t comfortable to do so without him helping me choose which ones to use. The Beau in the book has a few humorous moments and a small part in the ending. I think Bo would have been pleased with how it turned out.
If you’ve read Maple Leaf Hunter, or if you read it at a future date, you now know that the Beau in the rocker on the porch was inspired by my dearly missed friend, Bo Lumpkin.
I’ll leave you with a few of Bo’s words that he wrote about his own life. It’s really everything you need to know about the man:
“Sometimes we can get caught up in life and make it a whole lot more complex than it really has to be. I consider myself one of the richest men in the world. I have a decent place to live. I eat way too much. I have two automobiles and both are runnin’ at this time. I have two great kids, three grandkids, the best wife in the world, and Molly (the super energized wiener dog). If I had to settle up financially tonight I would still have some of my stuff left because what I have is worth more than I owe. My health might be a little sub par but so far I have woke up every day for over 62 years. I don’t even have to wonder if there is a possum at the crossroads because I’ve got stuff in the freezer. Yep, all in all, I reckon Bill Gates and Donald Trump ain’t got it much better than I have it.” –Bo Lumpkin, February 20, 2013