He owned McMahan Cleaners, and served with the U.S. Army Air Corp during World War II, and was a member of the El Jebel Shrine for more than 60 years.
I called him Jesse but the rest of those who knew him called him “Mac”. He always told me how beautiful I was. He was a sweetheart. His favorite dessert was Angel Food Cake, and he always talked about how food there wasn’t the greatest – especially the spaghetti because it just slipped off his fork because they [the world] don’t make Spaghetti like they did many years ago. He was married to a woman named Evelyn for over 70 years, she had died a few years before but his room was filled with photos of him, and them. There was still a sparkle in his eye when he talked about how much he loved her, and how absolutely beautiful she was. He told me how they got married when he was 17 and she was 16 on Halloween night a few towns away and never looked back. They never had any children of their own.
I was introduced to him by his attorney, because that is who took care of his care and his money since he had no one else. He did have a woman he called his “adopted daughter” she was a little girl that he had met while working one day a long time ago that wanted to know all about his work and followed him around. He and Evelyn got to be friends with the family I suppose and she would always call him and bring him groceries. She had talked to me a few times. Sweet as can be. He had a photo of her and her late husband sitting on the table in front of the TV, and he would talk about what a wonderful guy her late husband was and that she really took it hard when he passed and that he worries about it.
Late this morning, I had a push to read the Denver Paper, and search for his name. I found him there, his name that is, in the Obituaries. My heart sank and tears started to fill my eyes – which is a standard reaction. He was 94 years old, and had a long wonderful life. I knew the day would come – but I had no idea that today I would find it. He passed nearly 3 weeks ago on the 23rd of April. Just 5 days before my birthday, and I had no idea. Maybe that’s best because I would have insisted to go although it wasn’t practical to go all that way.
The worst part wasn’t even that. The worst part was that the obituary read like a cold Attorney had written it, no emotion. The only mention of Jesse’s sweet Evelyn was this line:“He owned McMahan Cleaners, along with Evelyn, his wife of 70 years. She preceded him in death.”
There was nothing about the never ending love that he had for her, the kind of love that keeps you believing that no matter how hard love and life gets – that it’s worth going for because a never ending love does exist.
Not once did it mention the sweet woman that he considered a daughter, that was the one that took care of him – the woman that called him and came to see him regularly and took him to appointments. The one he loved just like a a daughter without caring that she wasn’t blood. But instead listed nieces and other extended family of Evelyn’s that never bothered to touch base or send a card for holidays of his birthday.
The saddest part was the obituary was full of empty words, and not even a photo of him with his gentle smile, and that didn’t do justice to this man’s life full of struggle, prosperity and love;that the life of his, wasn’t even half-heartedly given credit in his memory of his time here on earth.
To, me that was the saddest part of all today.
Because I know Jesse is in Heaven with his sweet Evelyn and I know that’s what he has yearning for since the day she left.
And that is worth celebrating.
All I know is that I learned a lot from the man. I learned that no matter the hard time in love and in marriage it’s worth it in the end because in real love – just like he had for Evelyn, over 70 years later there is still a sparkle in an eye representing a love that would never be lost, no matter the time apart. And to me- that just reminds me that love, is most certainly worth hanging onto and fighting for.