I have known some pretty great people in my 13,000 days of living but I definitely love our older friends. Bob is one of those. He is a master gardener and would share his knowledge freely. He would counsel me (not intrusively) on what to do with my garden, my apple trees, my strawberry plants and come by to help me know where to plant. He shook his head when I told him the nursery people told me to plant apple trees in shade so they wouldn’t become to big and said, “Why didn’t they just sell you dwarf apple trees?” Bob loved our kids and was always up for a good teasing match and joke. He freely shared his garden goods.
One day, I heard a knock on the door. It was a humid summer day in Iowa and the kids were running rampant and we were still in pajamas. Bob was at the door. He had a bowl of the most delicious red cherries from his tree. He just laughed at our craziness and said, “These days will go by fast.”
Bob is famous for his honey, “Bob’s honey”. Blake was the lucky recipient of a jar for some computer work he helped out with. Now, we are honey snobs over here. We only do cox’s honey from Idaho (try it!) but we tried Bob’s honey and it defeated our beloved honey. There it sits in our pantry, about two inches left of a quart because Blake and I share it with each other. Blake uses it when he has a sore throat and we say, “What will we do when Bob’s honey is gone?” But we were happy to have it in the first place! Along with his kindness.
Bob is a mega construction man. He built on to his house over and over again and offered to help us with our attic project many times. He always checked in on us to see how our projects were going and he really cared. He did things 100% and then some. He and his wife, Myra were always working on a project, even in their sixties. And they had survived seven children on top of it all. Not only survived, but thrived and love them and their grandchildren very much. He as always quick to remind me that family was everything and not to give up on family prayer or scripture study or family night because all the hard work would be worth it.
When I had the twin’s miscarriage, Bob heard about it and very kindly told me he was sorry about what had happened. He was so sweet, I knew he really felt bad about it and it was a very fatherly moment. He patted me on the shoulder with his massive and gentle hand and told me everything would be ok. And I believed him because he would know. I took some applesauce muffins over to Bob and Myra and Bob told me they were the best applesauce muffins he had ever had. That meant something to me because his wife is an amazing cook!!
The last time I talked to Bob, he came to bring a bucket of apples from his tree. He told me he had to have open heart surgery in two weeks and I couldn’t believe it. Here he was two weeks to surgery and he was bringing us apples. Then he asked about my garden situation and said, “Well, let’s have a look.” That’s just the kind of man Bob was. He passed away last November after a long life of service and love and example of Jesus Christ. I miss his work ethic and plans and tours through his garden. He had such a great love for horticulture. And bees and the Amish. He is just an amazing example of a very full life. He loved people for what they were but wasn’t afraid to set you straight if you were in the wrong. And he always had a smile.
I had to steal this from his facebook page. If I have learned one thing from this “making friends with older people thing” is that I need to take more pictures.