Over the last month or so two men that I had the pleasure of meeting have left this life. Both men were at least 80 years old, and both men made me smile. The first one was John's next door neighbor from childhood Mr. Hubbard. Mr. Hubbard and his wife were from England. Every time I saw him--including the first time I met him about 14 years ago--he would call me his "hot tottie." Not really for sure what that means, but it always made me smile. He would tell the lamest jokes I ever heard. My fondest memories of Mr Hubbard took place at my mother-in-laws home while my father-in-law was still with us. I think Mr. H would irriate my father-in-law to pieces. And I LOVED that!!! They would sit in the living room, Mr Hubbard saying something incredibly silly, and my father-in-law would look at me like I was the biggest nerd for enjoying the company. I loved being there to see those two old farts interact. When I found out that Mr Hubbard died, I was incredibly sad. The saddest I have been in a long time. Every time I saw Mr Hubbard I thought of my father in law. And I smiled. I hope I don't forget.
The second man wasn't a man that I knew very well, but I was so inspired by him. His name was Mr Salter. John had a pretty close connection to Mr Salter growing up. I first met Mr. S when I went to midnight Mass at John's church about 13 years ago. I was incredibly uncomfortable in that church because I am Catholic and we were in an Episcopal church. Mr Salter came up to me while everyone was eating cookies and drinking some sort of hot apple cider (crap) and started talking to me about St. Mary's in Windthorst. He put me at ease. He told me stories of John being an alter boy that made me laugh. Mr. Salter was a volunteer at the hospital in Wichita Falls. I saw Mr Salter most recently when I visited someone at the hospital. He talked to me about my husband and my child, smiling, wishing me the best. If I had known that was the last time I was going to see him, I would have told him what an inspiration he was to not only me, but my husband. I would have thanked him for talking to the "outsider" that Christmas night long ago. I would have thanked him for coming back into town the night John and I got married. John wanted him there so badly. I would have thanked him for the talk he had with my husband when my father in law died.
I know neither of these men had any idea how much of a difference they made in my life. Shame on me. You think there might be Myspace in Heaven? Maybe they can look me up and read this blog.
Rest in peace Mr H and Mr S. The Wahl family will miss you both.