I read and write mystery novels. Human beings, including my own children, provide the most puzzling material.

Our younger son died last year. As the anniversary of his passing approaches, my thoughts of him have lifted to reminisces.

Jim was our fourth child, the one most like his dad, a man whose thinking and personality still surprise me.

Jim was the least emotional of our four children. Pragmatic, he did not lie and, was impatient with artifice. Right was right and wrong was wrong, easy for him to see.

This son was left-handed and was neither academic nor athletic. He was certain there was an easier way to learn multiplication tables than memorizing them. He spelled phonetically. He had a tall, strong, coordinated body, could have been an athlete, but he didn’t like sports, shunned the idea of social popularity, and had little regard for the usual motivators.

Jim mystified me.

After he graduated high school, a couple of college enrollments fizzled, and a number of jobs ended in mutual dissatisfaction. Finally, he enrolled in a small Catholic university and became friends with a CLEET-certified security guard. Jim got into security training, which he completed easily, became certified, bought a handgun, practiced on the firing range and passed requirements on his first go-round.

Recruited by several city security companies, he signed with one and settled in an apartment, happily supporting himself, and drawing praise from bosses and supervisors.

I marveled when “my baby” at six-foot two, arrived home one night in uniform, complete with gun, pepper spray, handcuffs, etc., and bearing an unfamiliar grim demeanor.

Kidding around, I asked if he ever had occasion to draw that weapon.

“Several times,” he said frowning. “I drew it last night, as a matter of fact.”

“Really.” I sobered. “Why?”

“It was after 2 a.m. I’d finished my shift and half of another one and I was beat. The manager at my apartment complex had passed the word about a drug dealer working our parking lot on weekends. He described the car.

“I was unloading stuff from my trunk, when the car he mentioned came roaring out of the night pointed right at me. I wasn’t in the mood.”

“What did you do?”

“I pulled my gun, dropped to one knee and took aim. I was going to blow that driver right out of his socks.”

He paused and I pushed. “So? What happened?”

“He jammed on his brakes and his car shivered to a stop about 10 feet from me.”

“What happened then?”

“I waited a minute, holstered my weapon, got my stuff off the back of my car and went up to my apartment.”

“What did the driver do?”

“He drove out of the lot doing 10 miles an hour like a rational person.”

I write fiction. I plan to use that scene in a future novel, although I didn’t really understand the way it played. For me, it was another of those baffling guy things. The memory of that conversation popped up while I was reminiscing about my wonderful, unfathomable son.

Jim was 39 when he died March 1, 2015, not in a shoot-out, but after 16 months of a courageous battle with cancer.

Recalling, I don’t think I knew him very well. Didn’t understand him at all. But I do still really miss him.

Jim was proud of my books. You can find them under my name on Amazon.

–––Sharon Ervin


About sharonervin

I write novels for and about women. I work half-days in my husband and son's law office. A former newspaper reporter, I have a B.A. in journalism from the University of Oklahoma. I have four grown children.
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  1. Brenda Braden says:

    A beautiful reminiscence. I wish I had met him. Sending hugs to you on this indescribable day for you.

  2. jtzortman says:

    Sharon – I am so very sorry for the loss of your wonderful son. My first book WE ARE DIFFERENT NOW was written about my 21-year-old grandson’s death and I’ve been with my daughter through it all and know it’s tortuous. Pete died almost 6 years ago now. He fell from a mountain ledge here in Colorado. Your blog wrenched my heart and brought tears. My husband is a retired 42-year LEO veteran. He spent 20 years on the Wichita PD, retiring as the senior homicide detective and then had 22 years as the Chief of Police here, the longest in the town’s history. So, we have things in common. It seems these “early angels” have special traits and personalities and your son seemed so much like Pete. Hugs to you, my friend.

    • sharonervin says:

      Thank you, and you have my sympathy in return, for the loss of your grandson. Death always catches me by surprise. I cannot imagine why. We’re all headed that way.

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