Social media gets a bad rap. I get it. Most times it’s not good things you see or hear on social media.
However, I would have never met Jonnie Roughrider @MagnumJw aka John Kennay had it not been for social media. Twitter, to be exact.
John and I shared the same love for the combine and for our family. His presence was always there. I could count on a tweet about the combine when he was sitting in the cab. He loved the fact that his 92 year old dad still ran the newer model combines and hadn’t missed a harvest…ever. He was always talking about coming for a visit one summer while we were on the road.
I learned of John’s death on January 24. It was one of those things where you read the words but it just can’t be true? It was true.
Twitter began lighting up with the same feelings as mine…how could this be? We were just…I was just…I just… Dang it! Why can’t there be a little warning about these sort of things once in a while?
If there had been a warning, I would have made that quick trip to Omaha a couple of months ago and met him. I would have visited with him a little longer about his dad during that last “conversation” we had on Twitter. I would have…
I watched the video his family prepared for his funeral. It is part of his obituary. Although I’ve never met John, I can see in his face the love he had for his family, for his Harley and for his farming. I felt the emotion he was trying to capture with those pictures of his dad running the combine. I felt the warmth of the sun hitting his back while sitting on that motorcycle. And I felt the love and concern for his grandchild who had just fallen off the sled he was pulling behind the four-wheeler. The pictures clearly captured Jonnie Roughrider’s love for life.
And this made me wonder about those of you who don’t know me. I wonder when you watch the video prepared for my funeral if you’ll see that same love of life as I witnessed while watching John’s? I admit, the tears were flowing and my heart was hurting for his family. They did a fabulous job of capturing John for who he was. And I didn’t even know him.
Will the camera capture your love for life? Or just there in the moment? Will the smile be genuine? Or will it be one that was asked to be there on demand? I hope it’s the genuine kind.
I wish I had a picture with John like many of the others on Twitter do. I wish I had had the chance to meet him in person. I know I would have thoroughly enjoyed visiting with him. I know it because I see it in his pictures. I know it because I read it in his words. You made an impact on me, Jonnie Roughrider, and you didn’t even know it.
Until we meet again…I will forever miss you and our Twitter conversations at harvest time. I will forever think of you while I’m sitting in the cab of that combine knowing there was someone else who shared that same love for it as I do. Thank you, Jonnie Roughrider aka John Kennay for making this world a little bit better for so many of us!
I am going to miss you.