They still make fun of me today. I sat on his couch in his living room and rubbed my hands together while I watched them intently. It was like I concerned that they would spontaneously combust or something. I looked at the floor, walls, hands, anywhere but his eyes. I couldn’t look at the eyes of the man whom I was asking for his daughter’s hand. As beads of sweat formed on my forehead which, by the way, was much shorter at the time, he only smiled.
His smile was a service because, you would have probably laughed out loud at this spectacle.
He smiled because by this time it was really no secret. By this time, Jennifer and I were spending most of our non-working time together. By this time, I ate at his table almost every night. By this time, I was his helper on his various projects. By this time, I was his Walmart wingman. By this time he had already introduced me around at the hunting camp. By this time, I was already his third son. By this time, he knew all we lacked was a ring and a vow.
I wish you could have known him.
You would have liked Bubba because everybody else did. Going anywhere with Bub took longer because he knew EVERYBODY and each and every one of them liked him. He greeted everyone warmly even the strangers who were apparently visiting from another planet. He introduced me like I was some kind of royalty. He was so proud of me for reasons which continue to escape me now. With Bub, I always felt like a wealthy Widget mogul when we both knew I counted my Tom’s Chip coins in his basement.
Like my own dad, I learned service from Bub. He constantly provided his electrician skills to anyone who needed help. He would get old air conditioners and refrigerators for his service. He knew the value of service and the dignity of a widow-woman’s two Mites. Today we still use a stove Bub got in trade. He allowed me to help when I could. He loved the stories people told and few people knew that a little conversation and coffee after a job was all the payment he needed.
He left us almost a year ago now. There is darkness in this life but, Bub was full of light. Toward the end Bub had a Cardinal visit him from time to time on the Dogwood tree outside his window. There is a Cardinal that sings as I sit on the cinderblock steps in my front yard most mornings. I use that time, just as the sun comes up, to pray and meditate. Maybe its Bub’s Cardinal because I sometimes feel Bub’s presence as his Cardinal sings. Maybe Bub just asks God to send the Cardinal because he knows I miss him.