katherine informed me
as i made my way
through the kitchen
i picked up my phone to see
dawn had sent me a couple of messages.
after reading the first one,
i felt my heart start to break.
"bob soaper passed away."
i'd known bob's wife and son
most all of my life.
his wife, barbara,
was my mom's first-grade teacher,
and his son, bob-o, was my age.
he and i graduated together.
it wasn't until
the spring of 1995
when i went to work
for the planter's coffee house
that i got to know bob.
for nearly five years,
bob was the bright spot
of my mornings.
i always looked forward
to seeing him
perched at the bar,
reading the newspaper...
sharing his words of wisdom.
bob became like family
to katherine and me.
we gave him and his family an open-invitation
to join us for our family's thanksgiving dinners.
he came and joined us for breakfast
at my grandmommie's apartment.
bob was special!
(i always giggled a little when i thought
bob was a grumpy old man
i knew he was just an old softy
here we are as in olden days
happy golden days of yore...
i hadn't seen him in a while
when katherine and i ran into him
last Christmas at a local, Chinese restaurant.
bob came over to our table.
faithful friends who are dear to us
they gather near to us once more.
bob: come over here, dani. i want to tell you something.
me: (smiling) okay.
bob looked at katherine.
bob: you stay here. this is between me and your mom.
katherine: (wondering) uh, okay...
(when she started working
at the library nearly four years ago,
katherine hadn't seen bob
in several years.
given bob was a regular at the library,
they picked up where they'd left off
and became big buddies once again.)
bob: dani, it's so good to see you.
me: you too, bob!
bob: (his eyes filled with tears) you have
a very special girl over there.
me: thank you.
bob: no, i mean REALLY special,
and you need to know it.
when i go into the library,
if katherine is there,
she brightens my day.
she has it all, dani.
she has personality,
she's a hard worker,
that smile just gets me
(a tear rolled down his cheek.)
me: thank you.
(i winked at him.)
she's a keeper.
bob: yes, she is! you just don't know...
have yourself a merry little Christmas
we hugged and wished one another
a merry Christmas.
me: i love you, bob.
but 'til then we'll have
to muddle through somehow.
that was the last time i saw bob.
earlier this year,
katherine came home and told me
bob was very ill.
katherine: can we send him some
flowers or a card.
me: absolutely! i will order flowers tomorrow.
several days later,
we received a sweet thank-you
saying he'd received the flowers;
they were waiting for him
at home when he returned
from the hospital.
hang a shining star upon the highest bow
today katherine and i are missing bob.
even though we haven't seen him recently,
we were very content knowing
he was still here.
the silver lining is
we can still look forward to seeing bob
again one day in heaven.
until then we will remember him
lovingly and often.
today i think i will go find a beautiful star
for katherine to place
atop her Christmas tree
in remembrance of our dear, dear friend.
love and God's blessings,