Today I want to tell you about one of my top 3 favorite people. This guy was just about as unique as they come. He told the best stories and was always there to lend a hand. His name was “Bones” Jones.
Last spring when we move in to our new homestead we immediately met 2 of the families that live on our road. They each told us about our third neighbor. They called him things like “hermit” and “hippie” and with each and every story we got more and more excited to meet him.
I think he finally came down to see us the first weekend after we moved in. M & I were sitting on the porch and heard rocks popping on the drive. Here comes this skinny older man with long hair and a long gray beard in a beat up (but rugged) old truck and with in thirty minutes or so he was already helping us work on our newly acquired but not properly working boat motor.
Over the next five months we visited with him about twice a week and heard some amazing stories of his life. He also fixed just about every motorized machine we owned. Really, thank God for Bones.
You see, when we first started looking at this place we scanned the internet to find any info or pictures that might exist. We poured over Google Earth looking for any clues we could about this property. We could clearly see the drive and the couple of properties situated on it. We clearly saw the ranchers place and the neighbors with the cabin. We also saw our new place and this one other inhabited (or atleast used) property. That other property was Bones’.
From the sky it was difficult to say who might own the place that turned out to be Bones’ It was also difficult to say what it might be used for. From the sky, it looked simply like a junk yard. Old cars and trucks and things littered the property and there was a long dirt road all of the way to the back where there was a huge building. We couldn’t tell if anyone lived there or not as there were no power lines running to that property.
Yep, you guessed it, Bones lived off the grid. Imagine our surprise to find that our new neighbor was already doing what we had hoped to achieve! Really, we couldn’t help but be fast friends.
Bones told us his story. He bought this property back in the 80’s. It was completely wooded and there were no roads or structures on it. He cleared his land himself and spent the first 15 years or so living in a gutted and modified bus. He built himself a water tower and ran power off of a generator. He dozed himself a road all of the way down his hillside and then built (mostly by himself) a huge steel building with a studio apartment off to the side. Building his building nearly killed him early when he fell off of the roof onto the concrete pad during its early stages of construction. Thankfully a buddy was helping him that day or we might not have been given the chance to get to know such an amazing person.
Unfortunately, God only allowed us five short months with our dear friend. You see, a year ago today Bones passed away. We had spent his last afternoon with him. He told us a few more of his crazy stories and we discussed how he needed to write a book. I think he had a great day that day. I know we did. Unfortunately, a few hours after we left Bones passed away in his LazyBoy. He went very quickly and probably didn’t even know anything had even happened. We were devastated then and still are.
I believe in life that everything happens for a reason. Looking back now I wonder if he hadn’t been waiting for someone like us. He hadn’t been feeling good for sometime. Chores were getting harder and I think he wasn’t moving as well as he used to. He had a daughter whom he had left everything to but she didn’t live nearby. If he had passed before meeting us there would have been no one here to watch his place for her. In fact she, our new friend, is the only good thing that came from his passing. I know that all three of us miss him dearly, each and every day but, I also know that he lives on thru the stories and lessons that he taught us.
RIP Bones. You, dear sir, are sorely missed.