Sunday, May 15, 2011


Tony, as Mario's best man.  Indeed.
He called me his Yoda.  He found me inspirational.  Just the other day I thought, "I think he has it backwards.  He is MY Yoda."

When one of my absolute bestest friends in the world told me she met a new guy that she thought was amazing I was  skeptical.  As a best friend it's my job to be skeptical.  I was openly hostile towards her openly asinine first husband.  Not exactly mature but I only want the BEST for a best friend.  Then I met her new beau.  Tony.  Tony had the faint twinge of a Arkansas drawl.  He had kind eyes, a sweet smile and a great hug.  I am absolutely not exaggerating.  It was one of those hugs that was warm, firm and you could feel the love radiating off of his body.  It reminded me of my dad's hugs.  He was smart and funny.  How could I NOT love this guy?  He was slightly antisocial (not the partier although with his friends he was a BLAST).  He had various idiosyncratic habits, as we all do.  Most of my knowing him he had a shaved bald head.  Recently he had grown it out.  Softest hair in the world.  What's more, he saw my friend, Nadine, as the precious jewel she is.  He put her on the pedestal she so richly deserved.  He took the friend who had hardened her heart and had become mistrustful of men, having learned she could only rely on herself, and he gave her her trust back.

All of us at the wedding ceremony.
Nadine had previously said she would never get married again.  This is a battle cry commonly formed by the mouths of the bitterly divorced.  Tony changed this.  Tony wanted marry Nae.  He, like Nadine, had an awful first marriage.  He got his courage up and she got hers.  They decided to get married.  They approached me and asked me to marry them.  I had been ordained.  I felt honored.  In the summer of 2008 I married this beautiful family.

Like all couples they had their ups and downs.  They decided a big change was needed.  You know, shake things up.  They decided to move just over an hour away to the small town of Toutle.  It really was just what they needed.  The little prickly bickering smoothed out as they found the peace they looking for.  Things just seemed beautiful.  Right as rain.  The way they should be.

Early this morning I startled awake.  Immediately after Brett did too.  He said "B" (he calls me B for Banana, you know, Johanna Banana).  A fraction of a second later my phone lit up.  The caller ID showed Nadine's # and long outdated profile picture.  I answered the phone.  She told me that Tony was involved in a collision and was killed.  I had this weird sensation.  It lacked surprise.  Even though I was just hearing the news I felt somewhere inside that I already knew that my friend's husband, my friend Tony, was gone.

I felt peace knowing that he was ok.  That his spirit was safe.  A knowingness that cannot be described.  But then I thought of all the things I knew my dear friend would face.  I saw my mother go through it.  I thought about the girls and how much they love their step-dad.  It broke my heart.  I really hope I can find a way to help comfort them all through this, although I don't know how.

From the last day I saw Tony, at Mario and Kirsten's wedding
I want to talk more about Tony.  Tony was not just the husband of my friend.  He was my friend as well.  We would wax poetic about philosophy often discussing, in depth, many inspirational texts.  He called me his Yoda.  Like I said in the beginning of this post, recently I realized he was mine.  When I had talked about starting a business he told me he would pay for all my licensing fees to get me started.  And he did.  He also gave me the sweetest card telling me how he had faith that I could do great things.  He told me I was beautiful when I was feeling self conscious.  And those hugs.  Damn, those hugs were great.  I could sit on the couch and we'd just have our arms around eachother.  I really love him like a brother, but without all the sibling drama ;)

I think he has a bright future out there in the ether.  I think he will help others.  I still feel like I can sense him around.  His kind, warm heart.  I love you, Tony Prather.  Your presence is already missed.  You're my Yoda.


Megan Paul said...

Jo, words cannot say how I felt when reading this post. My brother in law, whom I loved dearly, was killed in a fiery car accident nearly 3 years ago. My sister was 4 months pregnant with their first child. Nothing can prepare you for those kinds of early morning phone calls. Just be there for her as I know you will.

Megan P

Anonymous said...

Well said Joey, well said. ~Warren

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful telling of a great man. Yes, Tony was special and wonderful as a friend. I got to know him through my fiance Mike, with whom he worked at ADT. He accepted me as his friend and embraced Mike and I's relationship as wonderful.

Thank you Tony, for being a great friend to all. You will be greatly missed.
Natalie Richomnd (Luthy)