First of all, if you haven’t done so, go check out “The JoeLong Show” wherever podcasts are found. Only a son like Joe can truly describe their father as eloquently and to a “T” as he does in his latest podcast. Check it out, he has the perfect voice for a radio/podcast and very real and meaningful stuff. I will try and leave the link at the end of this post.
Now seeing as how Joe cornered the market of talking about his dad on the interwebs, I thought I would take a shot at it through writing on here as well.
Now I think I likely met John the same time I met Jed, his oldest son who has over the years become one of my very good friends. It was I imagine through growing up in Powassan and playing hockey there, when Jed and his family showed up from Hunstville, ready to take on Pow-Town.
I almost always greeted John by calling him Mr. Long, sometimes a handshake; he in return followed it up with a “Mr. Driscoll”, and short casual conversation. I don’t know that I ever started a conversation with him by calling him Johnny, John, etc. (but maybe I did?) I likely could have, but I had far too much respect for him to steer from Mr.Long.
I think I like John so much because he reminds me of my own dad. They both have a love for everything lumber related. I am not kidding, these two men love anything to do with wood more than any normal person probably should. Even in my dads downtime when he used to work for the Ministry of Natural Resources as a forest firefighter, he would often help John mark trees part time instead of collecting unemployment. When I picture our dads on roadtrips for hockey when we were young, I envision them talking about their favorite kinds of lumber and why. haha just ridiculous, but I swear not to those guys.
John also was a kind and softer spoken man than most, which is a lot like my dad. This means that you do not ever, ever want to hear their loud, angry voice come out. I imagine it took a lot to get John angry, just like Tommy, but you avoided doing so all together. I cant recall ever hearing John yell, angry voices styles, but I’m sure if you were to ask Jed he would have some stories.
If you decide to listen to Joe’s podcast, you’ll hear him talk about how all of the gentlemen at his wake/funeral referred to John as “one of the good guys”. I would take it a step further and describe him as “one of the best guys”. Growing up, he has always been an example of what a genuinely good person looks and acts like. Calm, respectful, pleasant, optimistic, caring, kind and authentic. John always carried himself in a good way. On top of all of that, he could grow the shit out of those Christmas trees at his tree farm, and he made a mean batch of maple syrup that no one else could rival. John always thrived on the value of hard work. If you were to ask his 4 boys how much they liked working the tree farm or helping run taps, then might give you varying answers; but what he wanted to instill in his sons was the value of working your ass off for a goal. Whether it be for the future, for your education, for your paycheque or for your family.
I know that my dad regrets not staying in touch with John as much as he could have over the years since minor hockey ended, since high school hockey ended, and since Jed and I kinda went our own separate ways in life. I know that it hurt him pretty bad to see John in such rough condition before his passing, knowing that one of his best friends for the majority of his adult life, who was also a fellow co-worker, hockey dad, and who helped teach and take care his kids through sport and outside of sport, was not going to live much longer. There’s not a person I have ever heard my father talk higher of or hold in higher regard than Johnny Long.
I know John was a believer in god, though not everyone follows that same path. I can tell you this: If there is a heaven, Johnny Long surely got in with no questions asked. He really was “one of the good guys”, “one of the best guys”. One day, when its his time, I hope that my old man will be reunited with his old friend. I picture them renewing their conversations of everything lumber from days past, and having a cold brew enjoying each others company upstairs.
Thank you for everything Mr. Long (handshake). One of my heroes.
Check out Johns son Joes Podcast The JoeLong Show” Below: