John Pugsley, my cousin, my hero the one me and my brother Rick and other Cousin Scotty all wanted to be like! John was my 1st experience with a life taken too early, he was 16 years old, died September 24th 1982. A little about John, from what I knew because he died at 16 and I was like 11 or 12. He was a good looking young man, with the best feathered hair of our day! Played ball, the girls liked him and he was a big presence when he entered the room. All I can really remember was my last time I saw John walking to his car, I was at the Farm visiting for a holiday or summer visit with our family shooting hoops in the driveway. I was trying to get Johns attention but he was on his way out, I am sure he had a cutie he was going to pick up in his 1969 Camaro, navy blue, with a big gold/yellow racing stripe, pop up sun roof and fat tires. As he walked by I was like hey John check this out, and he was not looking and I made a few, so I remember as he was getting in his car, I said hey John check out this shot, bet you i make it!! He said you're on, it was a turn around shot in the top corner of the driveway, under the auning and surrounded by a bush on the one side and the garage on the other....it was a shot I had seen John practice as a shot that would be great to give someone a letter in HORSE. I looked at the basket, turned my back then began to jump and turn around and shoot the ball, as I let it go I said..."in your face" and holy smokes it actually went in. John gave me a big smile, said nice shot and was off on his way. I said thanks! Again not knowing this would be the last time I would see John and having a conversation with him.
The next time I would see "Pugs" as his friends called him, me it was just John, was in the hospital hooked up on all kinds of machines and he was in a coma. They don't know what happened, he wasn't feeling well, went to the hospital on day, nothing. So he went home, then was feeling bad and went back. They put him in for further evaluations. Not long after he went into a coma....at the time we did not know, but one he would never come out of. I remember walking in the hallway of the hospital with my Aunt Ruth, who was a nurse and said I don't like hospital and is John going to be ok? I don't remember exactly what she said but what I do remember is getting a 7up and her saying we have his baskeball shoes on him, because if he comes out of this we want to make sure he is ready to play again:)
That didn't happen, all I know is he had something going on in his blood that they could not figure it out. We all grew up on that farm from time to time and pesticides were a big part of the upkeep of the farm. So I feel it is possible that the disorder they classified as a "Viral Encephalitis", was in part to do with the harmful chemicals John was in contact with at some point in life...more on that in our message.
John lived life Big, He wanted something he went after it, basketball, working at the camp, asking a girl out, hanging with his cousins and of course listening to his favorite song, Fly Like and Eagle, and getting the car he wanted with all the horsepower he could! He was the youngest of my Aunt Ruth and Uncle Fred's children, so of course he is the LAMB. He and I see each other on occassion and he still smiles about the shot, and reminds me that if you believe it and can see it go in before it goes in, it's has a really good chance of going in.
And it is no surprise to me that The Bird, The Horse and The Lamb are all on the same team.