Henry is my best friend's dad. I've been friends with A since we met in a potato field at a farm outside our hometown when we were 4. As A and I got older I was always at their house. I was just one of his kids. He had 9 of them...who would notice one more!?!?!?!?
He was always generous with hugs and nice things to say. Something I NEVER got at home. A's mom was sick with Huntington's. By the time I was old enough to drive she could barely hold a cup. So we (A, me, her mom B, and usually her 3 brothers) would spend Saturday afternoons sitting around the dining room table playing trivial pursuit. Dang B was GOOD at that game! Then Henry would come home from working in the fields, filthy of course, and we would tease him about being a dirty old man then watch 60 minutes with him.
After we graduated from high school, moved away and A's mother passed away I always made an effort to stop and say hello to Henry when I would go back home. His routine hadn't changed much from when I was in high school so I knew when he would be in the fields near my parents home or when he would be having lunch at the little cafe with the rest of the little old farmers. If he wasn't there I would keep my eye out for that old blue farm truck that was traveling slow. Sometimes I would just get to wave at him as I passed by but at least I got to see him.
From time to time when he "went to town" (that would be the next town over where you had to go to buy groceries and go to Wal-Mart) he would run into one of my family members and ask about me. Dad would usually call me and say "we saw your boyfriend today!" They know how special he is to me so they would always give me an update on his health and how he was getting around.
Henry is in his 80's now. He was thrilled when he got our wedding invitation. I've been told he drove all over town showing it to people. I had planned to make a trip to OK after the wedding to see him because I knew there wasn't any way that he could make the trip down for the wedding. I was so happy to be wrong!!! A asked if it would be OK if she brought him with her the Thursday before the wedding and let him hang out with us while we were doing all the last minute things. I was so touched that she would do that! She flew Henry down to Houston, picked him up at the airport then drove up to Slocum. While we worked on decorations, tables, flowers etc Henry was parked in a comfy chair and spinning tall tales for us all. That boy sure knows how to elaborate on a story! LOL! He was hugging on all the ladies and telling them how pretty they were. It was just a lovely getting to spend this time with him.
I don't know how many years we will have him with us but I will be forever grateful that he got to be front and center at my wedding.