A Special Man John Johnson

I have only met two people who have swam with dolphins. I only had the opportunity to talk about it with one. She was a friend of a friend and we met at a moon watching and birthday party. It was a special night with a very special friend.

There was another person I knew, all too briefly it turns out, that swam with dolphins, his name was John Johnson. In the short time that I knew him, I learned he was quite the man. His record as a war hero is documented and his contributions to the fast boats in the rivers of Vietnam still influence the Navy today.

I think though, his growth after his service is what defines him. While my daughter was being taught the piano by his beautiful spouse, Ruth, I would sit in the kitchen and sometimes John would come and keep me company. We talked about many things and I was lucky enough to meet a person of real compassion and wisdom.

He told me of his service in Vietnam and his influence with the Riverines. However, in what I think was a very typical trait, he did not really talk about himself very much, he let me know the kind of man he was by talking about others and their influence on him.

When Ruth gave me the memorial for her husband, the first picture I saw was John swimming and kissing a bottle nosed dolphin. I took a sharp breath and gazed at that picture for a long moment. Finally, I pulled my eyes away from it, yet my mind lingered even longer. I thought about our brief conversations and felt comforted in the memory.

Neil M. Turner



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