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07 Feb

Oh, he knew about it but he just didn’t know how to work it very well … I am not sure whose idea it was but it was a brilliant idea.

And of course you must also possess a personality that can handle the owners of these animals, no small task.

John, the handsome and muscular young farrier and blacksmith was a stellar example of the ideal.

Neither of us took a straight-line route to our final career destinations but we were diligent individuals (and John was intelligent) with good work ethics and somehow it turned out all right for each of us – except for the health issues of course. On the day of the gathering the stories fly fast and furiously.

At age 69 John passed far too soon and I struggle with Parkinson’s disease. I overheard several different categories of stories.

There is no doubt that these last few years were difficult ones for John, for his family and for his close friends.As you walk ever closer to the end of life, you reflect on your frailty and vulnerability and try to recapture the strength of your past.I shall refrain from elaborating on my condition any further except to say that our respective maladies presented us with similar real challenges and consequences that brought us closer together in these latter years. Mills and of his acumen as a storyteller have been circulating for years and his death serves now to detonate another explosion of tales – some well known, some dredged from almost dormant memory banks, and some newly uncovered and never before spoken about in public. Some were intensely personal, almost private and whispered in hushed and reverent tones.Other stories are clearly part of the commons already and their telling marks just another occasion to be regaled to the point of belly laughs, all the while enhancing the details for the next telling.This was his business and while he was a master at it, and passionate about it, it was not his great passion.The real John the Farrier and Blacksmith loved to invent and build things – especially things that are useful, novel and fun. Mills was, and continues to be, an intensely personal affair and while I am making my insider view public by writing this blog post, I ask you to be respectful should you decide to respond, comment or question. John’s death came as no great surprise to anyone in the know for he had been suffering from some form of pernicious lung disease for several years.This account of the day’s activities is neither exhaustive nor inclusive and does not follow the precise chronological order in which events occurred. I am not going to go into the medical diagnosis and jargon here but the inside word was that John was already entering the second decade of a prognosis which had him dying half way through the previous decade.