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No Whirlibird, no rumor. You’re correct. But he left there several years ago and “dropped out” very intentionally. He told an individual we both know that he’d maintain a particular email address if that person ever needed to get in touch with him, but that address is no longer valid. For him to have entirely lost contact with that individual would be much more than a little surprising unless something catastrophic happened, physically, mentally, legally, or safety-wise. The individual who is the last known person to have had contact with him believes it was most likely the safety issue. And now that individual (the bar keeper) is either deceased or severely disabled and effectively non-functional, so re-contact is not possible. Remember “Sierra Sue?” She and JJ had a falling out of sorts when she left the “Ranch,” and she also has no idea what happened to him now (she’s essentially fully retired and just trying to live one day to the next happily, and in peace). Regardless, what a great, great loss to the “community.” One of my prize possessions, even though it’s now available on YouTube, is a full recording I made of the Senate militia hearings – my first exposure to JJ. I was home sick that day (a rare occurrence) and just happened to check C-SPAN to see what was on. I literally caught the very beginning of the program before the hearing had actually begun, and decided for some reason to record it. What a great decision – because YouTube wasn’t invented for a long time after that. I was able to provide a copy to “Swampy” way back when (I’m sure you remember him). You can imagine how happy he was to have it, knowing what he thought of JJ. So YouTube or not, I’m kind of sentimental about having my own original recording of the full hearing.

For quite a while after watching the hearing, I didn’t realize that the NON-stereotypical black militia leader at that hearing was the same person as the person that maintained a web site that pre-dated the “Ranch.” But when he announced the coming shut down of that earlier web site (mainly just excellent information on firearms – good education) and the coming start up of Sierra Times, I shortly thereafter realized that “James Johnson,” the black militia leader at the Senate hearing, was JJ at the “Ranch.” It was a neat sudden combination of good information that resulted in a subtle but significant course correction for me. I miss him greatly. (I’ve always wondered just what those Senators were privately thinking when they had a couple of wild-looking militia leaders at the table, but also a couple of them dressed nicely in suits, white shirts, and ties, with very neat grooming – and one of them was black!. That must have messed with their minds!!! Ooops! on the stereotypes, Senators! LOL!

I happen to be a John Hartford fan (yes, I know probably no one else here has likely even heard of him, though most Americans, at least, know some of his music without realizing he wrote it). Anyway, in a song titled, “They’re gonna tear down the Grand Ol’ Opry,” Hartford laments the passing of some of the good stuff from the past. And one line near the end kind of says it all for so many things: “Another good thing has done gone on, done gone on.”

In fact, since it’s new year’s eve, even though I don’t drink the “usual” for this celebration, perhaps part of another Hartford song seems in order as we raise a virtual glass together:

Now here’s to them good ol’ boys.
Cheer ‘em on, make a lot of noise!
For this would be a sad old world,
Without a lot of good ol’ boys.

A lot of “good ol’ boys” have indeed “done gone on,” but there are still some left. I count it a privilege to be among some good ones (of both genders) here in the SHTF Forum. Thanks for who you are, what you do, and what you represent – all of you. May 2016 be as safe as possible for each of you, and may you look back a year from now and be glad you lived it, not just made it through.