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What’s in a name

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What's in a name

What’s in a name? Big Chief Hemp, Our company name, is a homage to a Great Man.

James Forward, The man, the myth the legend, exploded into this planet in the 1950s.  He left a considerable mark, on many a life. 

James was commonly known as Jim.  He had gravitas as I’ve never experienced before, in a fellow human being. 

A few of his nicknames; were James, Jimmy, Big Jim, The Chief, and The Guru of Maidenhead.  These are the names or titles if you will, that stick in my mind the most.

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bitter sweet

It was bittersweet. I was only honoured to have been in the great man’s life for a mere three years before he left this earthly realm. 

Prior to meeting him, I’d heard of him for many years.  Jim’s reputation; was larger than life but I’d had never had the pleasure of his company. 

When our paths did eventually cross; he made such a big impression on me.

A love affair of minds.

in his honour

My business partner and I felt compelled to name our company in his honour. 

It felt like the natural thing to do.  Our company is based around Nature’s Gift, we count the Big Chief as nature’s gift to the planet.

I felt utterly robbed of a friendship that I never fully got to explore.  The time with him was too short.  Although, he would laugh, as the Chief saw me for exactly who I was after only a few meetings.

Our Chief was very funny, he loved to wind people up.  Similarly, He would ask very probing questions. Although you were unaware the probe was occurring at that moment. 

He positively polarised people.  This left him with a fantastic, large and eclectic group of friends.  A toxic presence was not welcome or tolerated. It’s a beautiful ethos and one which I try to emulate.

in his honour

Conversations around Jimmy flowed, they were provocative and stimulating.  Jim adored a good philosophy session. He was sharp and very open to new ideas. 

His home had a revolving door.  Folks leave and arrive at different times, day and night, all bearing gifts.

He nursed the vulnerable and nurtured those who needed a father figure or a friend. Jim had great Love and some short flings, he had a lot of respect for women. He felt women’s place in this world was equal to any man’s.

While he was very caring, he also loved hearing a bit of gossip (quietly). He was brutally honest. It was always a lesson, sometimes a tad harsh. Only ask Big Jim a question if you are looking for an honest answer. The man was not a fan of sugar coating anything unless it was appropriate.

A prolific reader of books and he listened to bonkers music.  I referred to it as a psychedelic taste in music.  He loved to party and enjoyed a good festival. 

His home was always full of music, love, cannabis and friends.  At the end of a long evening; he had some tunes that could clear out a room to go to bed  When Frank Zapper and Captain Beefheart came on we all left.

he was out there

As with all spiritual beings, he made music.  Jim loved the bongo and could play them very well.  He enjoyed a good jamming session and had no qualms about trying something new. 

Our Jim was very ‘out there and supportive of your music, even if it wasn’t his cup of tea.  He wasn’t a music snob (as he put it).

The Chief was one of my heroes next to my father and best friend.  He was a mentor; his brief teachings, still ring in my head today.  His ‘sayings’ are still permeating our work and lives. 

When faced with a tough subject, we ask ourselves; “What would the big man say?”.  It’s a daft question really, he was not predictable.  Any answer to a question was not always expected or obvious.

He would often put a mirror to you. He would open your mind to yourself.  This was not always appreciated at the time but eventually understood. 

The chief was an old soul.  I remember all of our encounters. The Big Chief made a significant impact on my life.

Jim taught me, that it was okay not to believe in any denomination, it doesn’t mean there is nothing there.  To ignore the re-written teachings and do y broad research from every angle to find within me, the answer.  The clarity he gave was refreshing and made you realise, that you don’t need to know it all, just enjoy the ride.

tribe of his own

The Big Chief did not conform, he had his own rules and could see the game was rigged.  He played life respectfully by his laws. 

James had a tribe of his own, and we all adored him, that’s not to say he wanted it that way.  He enjoyed his own company.  He could be frustrating at times, but his words always made sense.

Before I met Our Chief, I had zero spiritual feelings and did not believe in any religion or higher power.  At the same time could not get my head around a scientific fact.  The facts are never absolute and forever changing.

He was undoubtedly too clever for most but worked hard to relinquish his ego.  It’s tricky and he didn’t always achieve it.  But he was self-aware and made every effort to be a gentleman unless you deserved otherwise. 

If The Chief told you off, no one asked him why he did it, you were asked what on earth had you had done?

The aurora The Chief possessed was gentle but powerful.  Our sun-worshipper was affectionately and respectfully called The Big Chief.  The Big man was quietly in charge; a tall man who studied Aikido, a self-defence martial art, created to defend one’s self all the while protecting their attackers from injury. 

Art of Aikido is translated as “the way of unifying life energy or often described as “the way of harmonious spirit”.

That’s the most accurate description of Jim The way of harmonious spirit’.

why big chief

Because Jim was wise and not backwards in coming forwards.  He had the highest cheekbones, very prominent. 

An attractive man he did not have the classic look of a European male.  He’d long hair, mostly tied back and didn’t seem to be born of this era. 

Didn’t walk, he glided, his moves eloquent and measured.  He could physically have control of you in one delicate move, by holding your hand, all very calmly. 

His respect had to be earned. And you craved his connection.

James, left behind two outstanding children, adults now with their own families.  A seriously tough journey. When the children were young, they lost their Mum, and Jim lost his love to Cancer. 

James raised the children on his own with help of friends and family and what a fantastic job he did. 

Jimmy leaves behind four Grandchildren, they all adored their Grandfather.

Jim was also struck with Cancer in his 60s’.  His legacy lives on.  The Chief was the perfect Grandad.  Giving them his time and taught them funny lessons and they enjoyed camping holidays together.  He leaves behind a beautiful family who miss him dearly, our loss is Great.

My best friend (partner) had been in his life since his early teens.  The Chief was; his Brother, Father and Uncle all rolled into one.  Big Jim told us that together we could make something magical and help to heal the fractures of our surrounding environment.  He was not wrong. The Chief knew the benefits of Cannabis to the planet, the economy and to medicine.

James Forward

So when people ask What’s in a name? Big Chief Hemp, would not have existed if it was not for Jim. 

He pointed out the obvious and encouraged us and gave us the drive we needed.  We tired him out with it in the end.  But we are eternally grateful for his love and guidance. 

He loved our mission, and I just hope he knows what an impact he had on Big Chief Hemp and us.

My final hope is that we can serve his memory justice and achieve our dream of helping and healing, with nature.

As I write this, the date is very significant, it would have been The Big Chief’s birthday today.

James, we raise a glass and a pipe in your honour today 14th August 2020.

Amatam Memoriam

Big Love

Mandy x