John David “Cookie” Cook
March 28, 1960 - June 3, 2006

 

HEAVEN HAS A NEW ROAD CAPTAIN

 

As I sit here in the dark of the night and mourn my friend, it occurs to me how much he meant to so many people.  When we got the news that he had passed, we rushed to be there with family and close friends.  By the time the news had spread that evening, almost a hundred people had arrived to share our grief and pay respects to the family…and that was just the people close to him.  Cell phones rang off the hook.  People could not or did not want to believe it.  They wanted someone to say it was all a terrible mistake but we couldn’t.  Our Cookie was really gone.

 

Anyone who ever met Cookie will never forget him.  He was the “big, loud, bald guy” who never met a stranger. He knew everybody. And we never went anywhere without running in to someone who knew him. If he went to a new place, by the time he left, he knew the names of the people who worked there, the owners and usually the history of how this place came to be.

 

I think about his nickname “Cookie” and the obvious connection to his last name is there.  But if you knew him, it is also an excellent description of him…hard and sometimes crusty on the outside but warm and gooey on the inside.  He had the biggest (and softest) heart of anyone I know, especially when it came to his family and close friends. But kids…anybody’s kids…held a special hold over his heart.  This past winter, we all went to a benefit for a child.  They were holding a live auction and Cookie donated his leather coat, patches and all, right there on the spot. It never occurred to him to do anything else.

 

Don’t get me wrong…he wasn’t a saint.  He’d get that sly look on his face, place his index finger over his lips and do something silly, even stupid.  We’d just shake our heads or our fingers and say “Bad Cookie”.  But if you were in his circle, you knew he’d always be there for you when the chips were down.

 

Over the past two days, the one thing in common that people have said to me was “Man, I just can’t believe this has happened.  He was like a brother/father to me.”  His four kids and his grandson will certainly miss him more than any of us.  But he taught them, and the rest of us, that family is what you make of it and it includes not only blood relatives but the people you choose to have close to you as well.

 

What I will remember most about him was his smile…you know the one…that full face grin that put a sparkle in his eyes.  When he was alive, he had a special place in our hearts.  Now that he’s gone, my heart aches but I know he will always be there, watching over those he loved most.

 

God must have really needed a new road captain in heaven to sweep behind all those who have gone before him.  Why else would he take him from us?  So, the next time you hear thunder, it’s just Cookie, revving up, ready to ride.

 

 Dawn “Dixie Cup A” Hayes