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A friend of mine passed away on Monday.

Forty-seven years ago, I met this gangly, goofy looking guy from Glen Ellyn.  Hell, I can even remember his roommate, Jess Unger.  Bois over the years came to epitomize in my mind the picture of a free thinker.  As a matter of fact, yesterday I looked on the internet for a definition of the word iconoclastic and wouldn't you know it, there next to the explanation was a picture of Bois.

I am not an overtly caring person, but as I sit here teary-eyed, I find it ironic that we often regret the fact that we are just too involved in our own living.  Years would go by and you would not speak to a person, but you always knew that you would be able to pick up the phone and it would seem that you had just spoken yesterday.  No pretense, no drama, it would be Bois and Mac.  On Monday after Gail called with the news, I tried reaching Nancy.  In the electronic world that we live in, I had Jim's old office number and what I presumed was his cell phone.  I called both and it was frustrating that no one answered either one.  One rang open and the other was answered after several rings with “Jim Boisclair”.  Over the course of several hours, I was able to finally reach Nancy, but you know what, I found comfort many times just going to voice mail and hearing “Jim Boisclair”.

I am a guy who over the course of my career sold a lot of technology related gear and services.  However, I am at heart, a technology peasant.  I don't know much, but I know what I know.  A couple months ago I lost another good friend the same way that Bois went.  I intuitively know that his cell and voice mail service are no longer working, but I haven't as yet hit the delete button in my contact list.  I don't think I will for him, but I know I won't for Bois.  I think it is my small rebellion to keep them alive.

I keep coming back in my mind to a MASH episode.  Everyone is concerned about a vintage bottle of liquor that Colonel Potter receives.  It seems that it has been passed down to the last remaining member of his cadre of WWI friends.  In sharing the bottle with the MASH regulars, he speaks of the memories of the friends of his youth.  He values the friends of MASH, but it is those lifelong friendships of his youth that makes him nostalgic.  I am in that nostalgic mood and if memory serves me correctly, Jim is first of our original pledge class to go.  It is a distinction without honor for an honorable man.  We will all have stories tonight, but my most lasting memory of Jim is of being in conversation with him and just seeing behind those eyes his mind evaluating what you have just posited.  If it was bs, he was unafraid to label it as such.  Such was the man he morphed into from those early college days.  He truly is a man too soon gone.

James B. Boisclair - all honor to his name.

Pat McEvoy at Luccas, November 20, 2013


for Bois and the Brudders, “Dammit”
Empty Table, Empty Chairs 
The table and chairs now sit empty.
We dispersed
To the rain soaked parking lot
And headed home.
Memories and stories
Slid comfortably across the table
Back to the fall of 1966; lowly pledges,
Gulick Hall, Tobin’s Pizza, phones at the end of a hallway
Or ones you paid
So you could talk to home,
To someone you loved,
Who remembered you
For who you were
And encouraged you
To become
Even more.
We sat in small rooms,
Beds facing each other,
Playboy Playmates pinned on cork,
Vinyls slid down spindles on to turntables, needles scratched out tunes.
Our conversations were innocent then,
Politics, sports, women.
We remained naïve
Content to pull on a rope.
We evolved.
As Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
Reminded us-all of our changes were there (at least a few)
In a rusty, brown house on East Street,
Where we gathered  
At tables round
Listening to our Magister
Instruct us in the ways of the cross.
We attacked Redbirds,
Threw their bricks back at them,
Shined shoes, polished floors
Made wake-up calls and stood in line-ups,
Not realizing
We were being schooled
To live an exemplary life
Of friendship and, yes, even love.
We lit the match,
Runkle, Bell, Lockwood, Jordan
Cooper, Scobey, Caldwell.
Fizz, Fuzz, Fizz-Fuzz…..
The quest began.
What have we found?
The century turned
And phones got smart
Cameras send
Pictures to Blogs
And electronic mail
Reminds us of who we were and are.

We gathered,

There at Lucca’s,

There at the table.

To remember Bois,


Bois - a magnificent mind, impish smile and chuckle,

An original in so many ways; sometimes arrogant, more often kind.

Spinning a phrase to astound or rankle.

Lecturing irreverently to shock or daze our simple mind.


There he sat firmly in our collective memory

Mac, OB, Bud, Wils, Schultzie, Norrie, Nels,  

Dunc in Denver

Whose tears and grief I felt through the wire chips of one of those smart phones.


Baldini pizzas - Sonny, Augie, Herm, Tommy, Pogo. 

Tales of days gone by, some true, some hyperbolic.

Absent pledge brothers sat with us there in spirit;

Grampus, Minnie, Bayles, Harold, Shooter, Sam, Horker and Bobby.


Faded photos, in dissipated color, black and white.

Laughter and tears, the night grew late.

Mac shared his tribute,

Heartfelt and honest, just like Pat - first rate.


Around those dining room tables

Inside that rusty, brown house on East Street

We were taught the three great aims:

Friendship, Justice and Learning.


If ever one of our brothers

Epitomized those words

It was James Burnett Boisclair.

Gone from us too soon.


He fought the good fight.

His work is now complete.

A life well lived, replete.

Luster to the cross – another aim for each of us.


“Spirits can never be divided that love and live in friendship.”

Reciprocal is the bond we share

In this life and the next,

No matter how we fare.


We swore to that,

Though our youth, manhood and old age.

Hours and decades passed. “There were places we remembered”. We talked and dreamed and sat,

Lingered there holding tight to yesterday, reluctant to turn the page.


Departing Lucca’s we wrapped our arms around each other

Sympathetic, comforting arms linked through eternity,

Man to man, brother to brother.

“So mote it be.”


Tomorrow stretches out for those who still remain and weep,

With promises of progress and “miles to go before we sleep.”

The circle is still unbroken, for what we’ve sown is now what we shall reap

The love sown deep stays with us certain and trumps our pain and grief.


Bois would have, most likely, termed this homage corny,

Bluster, excessive verbiage, full of baloney.

He’d insist we make no fuss.

“After all, B, I was just an ordinary, ornery cuss.”


I pray up there he found great pleasure

That we bid him farewell with fondest measure,

While gathering in one of his chosen places,

To raise our drinks with tear-streaked faces.


The Angels now have made their claim.

With brotherly love and heavy hearts

We whispered soft,

“All Honor to His Name.”



Barry Lee Swanson

AI ‘70

December 1, 2013


“There’s a grief that can’t be spoken

There’s a pain goes on and on….

From the table in the corner

They could see a world reborn

And they rose with voices ringing

I can hear them now!”


            from Les Miserables


 The Lucca Grill