He was known by many names, though my favorite to call him was Goofball. James “Jimmy” Rock was quite the character, and my favorite persona of his was Shamus McFadden DaKatt. This image is one of many that comes to mind when I think of him, the sweet smile and the thoughtful (and often mischievous) eyes.
Shamus was a flamboyant character in our renaissance recreation group. With a flair for drama and a penchant for having quick quips to goad someone on or shut them up, it was never a dull moment with him around. If you’ve ever watched the film “A Knight’s Tale” and enjoyed the antics of Chaucer, you would have loved Shamus. As I spent the day yesterday notifying people of his passing, I got to reminisce and hear stories of how greatly he impacted them. Make no doubt about it, he had an impact!
As fun as those stories were to relive, my most favorite moments with Shammey, were the quiet ones. Whether it was late night talks with a close circle of friends that lasted until the birds started chirping outside or hushed chats in the hallway between our bedrooms when we were roommates, he was always a quiet confidant.
Being roommates gave us a unique insight into one another’s lives. He let his boisterous mask fall and would be his goofy self, and I slowly started letting down my walls of protection. One morning, before I lived there officially, I was standing in the kitchen making coffee before heading into work. I’d spent the night because it had been Shammey’s birthday and it had snowed a decent amount. I didn’t want to drive home and they said I could crash on the couch, plus their place was closer to my work. As I was finishing up with the coffee I received a call from my boss. She was notifying me that my ex boyfriend had arrived at my job and was demanding to see me. She wanted me to have a heads up before just walking in, and she told me despite our hectic schedule, if I wanted to come in late to see if he’d go away, she was okay with that. I thanked her for the heads up and told her I’d be in like normal because we had craziness in store and I wasn’t going to let him intimidate me. In the whir of the phone call, I’d missed Shamus walking into the kitchen. As I hung up, he asked me “Who’s trying to intimidate you?” When I let him know what my boss had said, it was met with an “Aw, hell no! Give me just a second, I’m going to work with you.” and with that, he was running up the stairs. A quiet confidant yes, and also a protective friend.
He knew I was private, keeping my challenges to myself, unsure of whom I could really trust. He’d learned through observation that I would retreat to my room and isolate when things went haywire in my world. He’d tried a few times to get me to talk, and demand that we talk a few times as well to no avail. Never one to give up, if he thought I was having a bad day or needed a reminder, he’d knock on the wall that separated our rooms lightly three times. I would knock back and that was it. One night, during one of those hushed hallway chats; I asked why it was always 3 knocks. The message was simple, one knock for each word: I love you. Quiet confidant, protective friend, giver of love.
I have stories from trash talking over Disney’s version of Sorry to flat tires and roommate pranks, and so many more. I shared many of them over the last 36 hours, and I will treasure them always.
However it was the small things, the wink when he knew I’d stood up for myself, the kiss on the top of my head when he just knew I needed comfort, his infectious laughter, how he shined and was truly comfortable in himself, it’s the little things I will miss the most.
My last conversation started with “Hey friend, you’ve been on my heart” and now, you get to live there forever.
I’m going to sing a little Shania Twain, watch A Knights Tale and see if the kiddos want to make tie-dyed shirts with me this weekend.
Knock. Knock. Knock.