Romance is such a fun thing. We read books with alpha heroes who take care of business and beta heroes who quietly take care of business and we swoon and compare our book boyfriends and its all good.
Then there are the real men. Not the romance heroes but the nice guy, the men who don't have books written about them but who take care of business by taking care of their families and their wives with no glory. They aren't heroes. They aren't romance icons. They're better than that.
Carolyn lost her John on July 21. He was sick for a while, they thought it was flu... maybe pneumonia... maybe a virus of some sort. When the doctor finally got his head out of his ass, they found John's lungs riddled with tumors. In less than two weeks, he was gone.
I didn't know John. I know and love Carolyn and because of that, I knew the John she married. He was a funny guy, always cracking jokes. We'd be talking and he was always in the background putting his two cents in. Sometimes he'd answer the phone and we'd flirt at first and then joke.
He was a charmer. John was the guy who found every woman beautiful. He was the man who told Carolyn the cure for a headache was sex... and she always felt better after (damn him, she laughed).
He never had glorious jobs (although he was a cop for a time) but every time he left a job he moved on to a job that was better financially and gave his family a foot up. Carolyn said he was never fired from a job in his lifetime, and that's one huge accomplishment in my book.
They had two sons together and John was that guy who taught his boys to hunt and be men. He didn't always understand the boys but they looked up to him and I know that his sense of humor is definitely alive and well in his sons.
John McCullough was never a romance hero but he had a woman who loved him, that he loved. They understood each other and didn't care about the others idiosyncrasies. They didn't have big misunderstandings, they didn't have to climb over obstacles or deal with mass murderers. They lived a life together. They had some hard times. They had some great times. They stayed together.
I guess that's the thing that makes men like John a dying breed. They stick to their wives and families even when its hard. They don't look for greener grass or younger women, they don't have big dreams and little ambitions. John's generation and the men like him, are men who vow to honor and be there and that's what they do.
In his own way, John McCullough was a great man. And his strength, integrity and decency made him a hero. He gave Carolyn a love story that was full of laughter. He gave his sons a clear truth in what a man could be.
Our world is sadder without him.
Rest in peace, John McCullough.