|The Kerkove Goodbye Tour rig|
But it was a late week post where I had a picture or two of a black FJ Cruiser that sticks out for me ten years down the road.
Speaking of "down the road", it was that particular day that I saw Jeff Kerkove at Europa Cycle & Ski for the last time. He was off to live in Colorado and he's been there and worked for Ergon ever since. I didn't know that technically, but I knew that inside of me. It was kind of a weird goodbye, but in a way, totally what I would have expected from Jeff.
When I first started at Europa in 2002, I was put alongside Jeff as a mechanic after working the floor for the first several months I was there. One day, Jeff wasn't there for some reason or another, and my boss came out to have a word with me. Of course, I was a bit worried, being the "new guy" at the time, but Russ had something else on his mind other than my job performance.
He wanted to know what I was doing with Jeff. How was it that I was getting him to talk and laugh. I was dumbfounded, because I found Jeff to be affable and fairly.....normal? Why was this a question? Apparently, my boss, Russ, had never heard so much chatter from Jeff, nor had he ever heard him laugh out loud at work. So, apparently we had a chemistry with each other that was a bit unusual from my bosses viewpoint. I didn't know anything about Jeff other than that he was in college at UNI and studying graphic design.
All that to say that I had an inner kind of feeling that day he showed up at Europa with that black FJ Cruiser and that it meant that he was never coming back. Jeff had kind of left that door open with Europa until the day he drove off Westward, never to return. So, there was no "going away" party, or any recognition of his "final day" at work. Just as he wanted it, I imagine. But, I kind of knew.
Which is also the way I think he wanted it........