Goodbye Justin Flippen, Mayor of Wilton Manors, Rest in Peace

Weird how things happen rapidly.

We were sitting in the living room watching TV. An old I Dream Of Jeannie rerun. Silly little plot about Jeannie getting locked in a safe that was going to be sent to the moon. Completely implausible.

I heard from the other side of the room:
“Uh Oh, this is bad.”

What happened?

“Justin had a heart attack. We don’t know if he’s made it through or not.”.

No, can’t be!

It turned out that he didn’t survive.

He was out driving his car and we actually had an address where he had the attack, 4500 block of Andrews Avenue. Strange little detail that entered my mind, it was down to the house number. That in itself felt rather incongruous.

Now I keep thinking about driving down that way. No reason to do that, I know where it is, just off Prospect near the “Good Hardware Store”. Ace may be the place with the helpful hardware folks, but they can’t bring Justin back.

He was a politician, the Mayor of Wilton Manors. A commissioner before that.

Mind you, I have run into politicians over the years, Justin Flippen simply did not “act like a politician”. He wasn’t the kind of person who when you talk to them you feel like you are talking to a wall.

Justin seemed to genuinely be interested in what you had to say. I guess you can’t really get away with that detached feeling in a small city of almost 13,000.

He had a bright and sunny air about him. You would speak with him and somehow you would feel like all of his attention was turned to you and the rest of the world was secondary.

So “bang” just like that, our friend Justin is gone.

He wasn’t the one that I would have expected to have gone first. At 41, he was way too young to go. As they say, it is the first heart attack that is most likely to kill you.

We will go on. The event gives us pause to look at our own health and ask if that could be you. Do you exercise too little? Is your diet too full of salt and fat? Or are you at risk from a stroke or some other issues?

Don’t know. I’ll personally look into that myself, it’s overdue.

Justin, thanks for being here, and a friend. I did appreciate every time you went out of your way to talk to me.

He would ask how things were here in the neighborhood from time to time when he spotted you. If he spotted you, that was expected. He was that kind of guy.

I’d spot him chatting at one of the bars here in town, not holding court but making sure he was in touch with the people there. He’d stay informed that way and be better at being Mayor.

So now he’s gone, and we’re all scratching our collective heads.

Way too soon.

Goodbye Justin Flippen, you were a friend, and you are missed by many.

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