Sharing time with those you love or with those who love you is the best use of time I have ever experienced.

I love have things called “timeshares” in Florida. They say I own one week a year of a ocean side room. I share it with 51 other “owners”.

So I am in Florida at my timeshare in Panama City Beach, sharing time with my wife. We work together and share time, but this time is our time….. set aside to be together….. in love.

Because we love each other, we tolerate our time at work together and we make the best of the time we have after work and because we love each other it all ends up good…… and we warm the cold sheets together. And at that point in time, the troubles of one day gently pass away.

I am a guy who wakes up happy ….usually. My time in the morning is often my best time all day… on a work day. But even on those days, I anxiously await Diana’s awakening and that familiar look on her face as she strolls by my desk to the coffee pot, robotly getting a cup, pouring it and dressing her Costa Rican cup of coffee. In Costa Rica they take coffee and will take time to take coffee. Diana and I take our time to take our coffee.

She requires 2 cups before anyone should speak to her…. per her instructions; That is her time and she tries to take it.

We all need time alone so that we can see and feel that true happiness occurs when we “share time” with those we love. It’s like – how can I miss you if you don’t go away….

That kinda brings me to the thing that is on my heart today.

This spring, in March, Diana and I were lucky enough to spend a few days with our friend Jay Cotter. He had been given a very grim outlook by the doctors. This was his last year. He called me and we talked and planned to meet in Panama City at our time share and we did. We talked and talked and laughed and ate together and he rested a lot. Jay was on his last trip anywhere except back and forth from the doc tor and the hospital, and he choose to spend it with me.

I met Jay while landscaping his parent’s yard and home. He was soon working for me, helping me finish his parent’s job and then on to many more. He worked with us at our first restaurant, “The Rocking Chair”. We spent a lot of time golfing and on the lake and generally having fun. Life caused us to be that way… fun, when Jay Cotter was around.

He always called me “Jay Barker” as do many others… using my first and last name as one. I called him “Jay Cotter”.

Jay Cotter got messed up with a woman that led him down a path of destruction at break neck speed, but he managed to escape by driving one night to Florida and sleeping in his car. He took control of his life and worked his way out of a bad way.

I went to Chicago and Pierce Cotter went to Florida. Jay Cotter changed his life, left his wife and became Pierce Cotter, owner of Rainmaker Sprinkler Systems and he had a long, fruitful career in the Florida landscape business.

I was fresh out of small town jail when out of the blue the phone rang and it was Jay Cotter…. not knowing my situation…. he said the company he was working for had a need for a landscape project foreman. I was flown in by REW Landscaping and by the end of the day, I had a secured a contract to work for them. It was truly a blessing for me and Rick Wesley. I made him a lot of money during my three years with his company and I also made a good bit.

During those years, Jay Cotter and I spent a lot of time …… together…. for which I am now thankful.

July 15th, yesterday, Jay Cotter breathed his last breath here on earth. His sister had called me a day or two before, forewarning me of the impending death of her brother and my friend. The following day, Ryan, Jay’s stepson, called and I said, “I’m on my way”.

Sunday at 4 PM, some thirty minutes after Pierce passed away, I was silently driving and thinking of the dread of the funeral and the good times he had had. And I was sorely sad.

A phone call from Todd, one of Ryan’s friends, informed me of Jay’s exact time of passing and told me I should plan on getting a motel room and he promised to let me know the time of the arrangements and such.

This is Monday and I have decided to stay with my wife in our Panama City timeshare instead of continuing to Orlando. See, the one I loved is dead. His family in Florida loved him…. not necessarily me. I came to the clear understanding that I was only trying to soothe my pain by going there. I was not for his family or stepsons or wife. It was for me. So when Diana neared Panama City at midnight I looked up from my silence and said: “I’m not going to Orlando”.

Shocked, but relieved, she said, “why?”

I explained and ensured her that her love was what I needed most at this time, after silently sharing 8 hours of driving and riding.

She knew I needed to be silent, she knows me….. she loves me and in her arms is where I needed to be all along. Before long, we were in our room and I was comforted by her touch and the caring in her eyes and I passed into a deep sleep, not dreaming, not waking, until morning.

Upon waking at 7 AM, I got up, opened the sliding doors to the balcony where Jay and I had not too long ago shared time. I gazed out over the vast Gulf of Mexico as the early walkers navigated the sand and tides and I wondered what Pierce was actually doing in the after life… and I felt a peace come over me and I knew he was sharing time with me again…. from where ever he was.

It’s now 3 PM and I haven’t heard from his loved ones in Orlando today. I am hoping for their pain to soon go away and the joy of Jay’s life set in for them.

I am a fortunate man. I have lost 4 close friends lately, yet I have at least 5 more still there with me. Most people I know don’t have 10 close friends, close close friends. I did and now its down to half that number, but plenty enough for Jay Barker.

A friend requires your time, your ears, your hands, your words, your heart and your understanding. It’s quite a job sometimes, but well worth every second we share.

I will leave my suit hanging in my car and share my time with my best friend…. Diana, my wife.

She loved Jay Cotter too and we will mourn no more, but rather try to enjoy these few day together at our timeshare.

There is no better use of time than to share it with the ones you love and the ones that love you.

Jay Barker loved Jay Cotter and we spent and shared and wasted no time together.

He is with me still, a good man and a better friend and a memory that will be shared with me as long as I am given the gift of breathing by the One who loves me the most.

Timeshare…. it’s a good thing.