Tue, Feb. 18

Letter: The leather recliner sits empty but our hearts are full


Last week the unofficial "adopted" member of our family, Jim Porter, passed away and I want folks to know just how much this mentally and physically challenged man gave to those who met and cared for him.

Back in the mid-'70s Jim became a fixture around Cornville. He was quite an imposing figure but once you got to know him and his wonderful sense of humor he became teddy bear. The teenagers in the area, Stony, Billy, Choppy, Eric, Jeff, Marie, Debbie and many more, became his buddies taking him swimming down at Creighton's Hole, teaching him to read; he was so excited to learn how to drive the lawn tractor he'd forget to look where he was going, instead looking at and grinning from ear to ear at whoever was nearby.

My kids taught him to play guitar and music became his real love. Back when CB's were popular he took the handle Desperado, a song he claimed as his favorite. He'd walk miles, if necessary, wearing his big black cowboy hat, but as time went by more and more locals picked him up and took him to his destination whether it be Casey's Corner, Cornville Market or even Zane Grey Steak House in Camp Verde. Donny Bryson and other ropers in the area also took him in to their group and how proud he was to be accepted by them.

In later years, Jim experienced major health problems and his dear friends Eric and Cowboy Bob were there for him as was my late husband, Jack, or "Pa" as Jim called him. Over the past year I tried to fill in as best I could; he'd call me several times a week just to chat, mostly about NASCAR or football.

Jim had the tendency to spend his fiduciary controlled allowance too quickly and sometimes had no "food money" for McDonalds or Wal-Mart so one day in December I took him a carry bag full of food and he was so pleased. Later that day he called me and said "Ma, if I could vote for Mother of the Year I'd vote for you." What a memory I have of that call.

His new leather recliner sits empty now but our hearts are full as my family and friends remember the "good old days." I want to say a huge "thank you" to the nurses at Verde Valley Medical Center for their understanding and wonderful care and for allowing Jim to die with such dignity.

Shirley Seitz aka "Ma"


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