A sad update — at 11:45 EDT on August 11, 2016 Steve Johnson, our beloved Iron Fist, passed from the Loving Arms of his Wife to the Loving Arms of the Father.
When you met him, the word “intellectual” was probably the furthest from your mind. It would have been easy to be blinded by the prejudices that we all have. And in Iron Fist it was “Biker dude meets William F. Buckley, Jr.”
My first “image” of Iron Fist was from the back. A photograph of a looming presence in a leather vest with a huge patch that read “LGF Minion”. I remember the much vaunted Oakland meet up (on TAX day of all things) in Oakland in 2005. Word of our right-wing invasion had spread and his photo was causing liberals to suffer panic attacks and they announced we were all descending on the East Bay wearing our “colors.”
Meeting him in real life, though, was an experience. Entering the venue, I received a big, big bear hug and “CAROLINA!” Funny how we all called each other by the names we knew best — the blog version of the secret handshake. Sure in many cases our real names were known. But Fist’s lady will always be “Skippy” to me, just as my better half is still Flyboy to them. Trite as it sounds, these were, and are, genuine friendships. We were more to each other than a responding comment on the internet. We were friends. Real friends. It had nothing to do with geography. It had to do with heart.
Later, when I read some of his masterful posts and threads, It was often hard for me to reconcile the relaxed, casual, image I had of Fist with the words on the page. As if Fox News had relocated to Sturgis, South Dakota. He could write so well on so many subjects and always held my interest. But at the same time you could see yourself having THAT conversation with him – me with the wine, he with a beer.
He made a couple of trips to the West Coast to visit and finally retrieve the love of his life, Skippy, and we made sure to have a party in his honor whenever he was here. And they were wonderful, wonderful times. I never wanted them to end. And they often lasted far into the evening.
There is no question that he loved his wife, his animals his bike, his martial arts. But where he completely wore his heart on his sleeve was his love of his country and his love of freedom. I often think he would have defended this country against all enemies, foreign and (especially) domestic, all by himself. And probably won.
Humble words from me cannot adequately express my admiration and love for this man. I leave it to the world’s greatest wordsmith, from one to another:
He was a man, take him for all in all,
I shall not look upon his like again
William Shakespeare, Hamlet