I met John about 12 years ago when he joined my family for a Flags on the 48 hike. Jackson or Pierce.
I asked him about his trail name: "What is that about ? A mystery wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a Paradox ?"
"No", he replied: "I have 2 Doctorates."
OKAY ! So, he has a sense of humor AND he needs to be taken seriously.
We hiked more and about a year later I sent an email to a few VFTT friends that I'd like to do Rainier and were they interested. John responded almost immediately that he was in. We trained separately, bought gear, hiked together and made the spring of 2008 reservations for Rainier. Our first morning in Ashford we went to the local diner and I ordered Eggs Benedict. After the waiter left John asked "Did you get the chrome plate ?" I didn't understand and so pretended I didn't hear him. He leaned in and repeated "Chip, did you get the chrome plate ?" I had to admit then I didn't know what he was talking about. He said "You ordered Eggs Benedict and...There's No Plates Like Chrome for the Hollandaise." Nice. So. How many breakfasts had he suffered where nobody ordered Eggs Benedict, waiting to tell that ? Did I need to pay perfect attention to everything he said going forward, not knowing if it was a simple comment or something more complex ?
He stayed with us in CT last month as he was competing in a 14 mile kayak race in LI Sound off South Norwalk. He won his division.
It was obvious at his service today how many lives he had a profoundly positive impact on.
He will be missed, profoundly.
I missed the date of John's passing by a few weeks. This past month, Laurie and I had a shot of Lagavulin Single Malt, one of John's favorites, at the summit of South Kinsman. It was 'Flags on the 48' day. And while the occasion was not to celebrate John, (or anyone else for that matter), we did do several Flags trips with John, and hiked this mountain together. He was the best friend I made from this board.
In honor of John's wordsmithing prowess, I leave you with this story:
A pair of twins did everything together. They decided to go to the same college and of course, lived together too. It being the pandemic, they had a lot of classes online. They were both overweight, so they decided to use a popular diet. They died in a tragic explosion in the chemistry lab. Knowing the two were always inseparable, the parents decided to have them buried in the same coffin.
So, they went from womb, to room, to Zoom, to Noom, to boom, to tomb!