June 11, 2021

AN UNFORGETTABLE DATE

Bob spent a summer on staff at our church and formed many deep friendships there. He was about 7 years older than Patrick and became something of a mentor to him.  I loved having him to our home for meals and deep conversations.  We talked about books we loved and our spiritual journeys. He was honest and passionate about continuing to grow in his faith and serving others. 

When I was caring for my mother at my home the last few years of her life, he often sent me cards and notes of encouragement—including quotations from various writers.  My favorites were from T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets—

“To arrive where you are, to get from where you are not,

You must go by a way wherein there is no ecstasy” and

“And all shall be well and

All manner of thing shall be well

When the tongues of flame are in-folded Into the crowned knot of fire

And the fire and the rose are one.”

In June of 1994, he and Jill were married in the church in Gainesville, Florida, where he was on staff. Knowing he was struggling financially, the women of the church told him they wanted to host the rehearsal dinner.  They also provided wedding flowers and the reception at the church.

I drove down from Columbia and Patrick came from Orlando where he was in seminary.  Bob assured us that his church friends also were hosting all the out of town guests overnight.  I was to spend the night after the rehearsal dinner with a couple who lived in a lovely home in a gated community.  Patrick went with me to meet them and drop off my luggage. They weren’t going to be at the rehearsal dinner.  We had a lovely evening and stayed quite late talking with everyone.  Patrick was driving me back to the place I was staying and then going on where he was staying with some of the wedding party.  Surprise!  Since it was so late, the entrance gate was locked and my hosts had not given me the code.  We tried several strategies that didn’t work—and finally drove back to find Bob.  He called another woman who was already hosting several guests and she kindly agreed to take me in.  I didn’t have so much as a toothbrush!  I was just settling into bed when Patrick returned.  He and Bob had managed to contact my hosts and they let him in to get my suitcase.  What a relief that was!

The wedding was lovely—and at the reception, Bob was overwhelmed by all the love his church family had shown them in making their day so special.  He said he was sure he would never forget his wedding anniversary—because it was also his 30th birthday!  

In this photo, I’m with Bob and Jill a summers after they married.  They were in the Asheville area at a vacation home with her family and met Patrick and me at a coffee shop for a visit.  In 2002, Bob officiated at Patrick and Julia’s wedding in Annapolis. So congratulations and love to Bob and Jill today on their wedding anniversary—and his birthday! 

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