I went to a visitation tonight for a man I've known about 8-9 years. Don, who was the father/father-in-law of friends of mine, died just 15 days shy of his 90th birthday and 2 months shy of celebrating his 70th wedding anniversary with his wife, Lu. He liked people. Pretty much anybody. He'd lend a helping hand to anyone who needed it. He touched a lot of people's lives in his time on this planet, and mine was one of them.
I've shared a number of Easter and Christmas dinners with him over the last several years. My love life (or lack thereof) seemed to be a concern of his. He couldn't understand how I could possibly be single. He used to tell me, "You're a good woman. Any man would be lucky to have you." I'd respond by saying, "Well, tell that to any man." I think he thought I meant that as I once overheard him doing so.
On one occasion, he told me about one man in particular that was just perfect for me. Don informed me that "Al" (name changed to protect the innocent) was a good man and he had a nice house and all kinds of nice qualities. Sounded good. Except he lived in a small town in Nebraska about 5 hours away where Don and Lu were living at the time. Don didn't seem to think the distance should be an issue. I did.
Six or seven years ago, after they had visited over the holiday one year, I went with my friend to drive them back home to Nebraska. Don was hopeful that it would work out that I could meet Al during my visit. On the way there, we stopped at a Cracker Barrel for lunch where I continued to hear about the virtues of Al and how we should get together. Lu piped up and said, "Al? He's too old for her." Don said, "Well, he is not. He's not that old." Lu responded, "Well, he collects social security." I guess 60-something is still pretty young if you're 80-something, but as a 30-something (at the time), I was thinking that might be a little too old for me. Add to that the distance and it just was not meant to be. But, I got a good laugh out of it all. At least he had his eye out for me.
Don's teenage granddaughter wrote and read a beautiful tribute to him tonight. It was also a tribute to Lu and their nearly 70 years of marriage. Don's love for Lu was always apparent whether they were bickering or smiling at each other. He thought the world of her. While I found his quest to find a man for me amusing, I think in the end he just wanted everyone to have a little piece of what he had with Lu.
He was a good man and he will be remembered fondly by many.