I grew up in that city too. Aunt Jean's house was a five minute bike ride away. Bob was several years older than me. He had a way about him, sort of, hey, you may never need my help but I'm watching out for you. Chivalrous.
As adults, we saw each other now and then. Bob always seemed glad to see me, to talk to me.
Now living two hours away from that hometown, I made the drive for Bob's funeral. His wife of 31 years, now a widow, stood at the side of Bob's casket. I hugged her. "Roseanne, I'm so sorry." Words that don't seem adequate. Many people said those same words. There really isn't anything else to say. Still, it matters to say them.
A scene from a movie keeps playing in my mind. Students at the New York ballet academy are walking down a hallway following the first class of the semester. One girl who performed badly in class, says, "I swear I'm better than that. I'm just so nervous." Another girl says, "don't sweat it. First day doesn't count, OK?" Another girl, a veteran of the academy says, "everything counts here."
There were lots of people at Bob's funeral. Many of them were weeping. This simple man touched many lives.
Everything counts here.
Who Shall Abide in God’s Sanctuary?
O Lord, who shall sojourn in thy tent?
Who shall dwell on thy holy hill?
He who walks blamelessly, and does what is right,
and speaks truth from his heart;
who does not slander with his tongue,
and does no evil to his friend,
nor takes up a reproach against his neighbor;
in whose eyes a reprobate is despised,
but who honors those who fear the Lord;
who swears to his own hurt and does not change;
who does not put out his money at interest,
and does not take a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things shall never be moved.
- Psalm 15:1-5