There’s no easy way to say goodbye to a friend.
No matter how beautiful the memories, or how long the friendship, whether the end comes swiftly or painfully slow, it is always difficult to let go.
Yesterday, we paid our respects to our friend Doug.
A member of General Patton’s army, he was a decorated World War II veteran, but you’d only know that if you asked.
To us Doug represented all that was right and good about the country he fought to defend — dependability, grace, respect, honesty, and a well-poured Brandy Old Fashioned.
The first neighbor to fire up his snow blower, and the last to turn out his porch light, Doug set a standard in our Midwestern neighborhood.
“Tell your kids if anyone ever scares them, they should run right here,” he once told me when our children were small.
Thanks to that attitude, they grew up secure in a come-home-when-the-streetlights-come-on kind of neighborhood in which Doug and his equally amazing wife Janet set the tone.
We all filed in yesterday, the businessmen, retired teachers, and the still flirty Cookie Lady, to say goodbye to a man who made a greater impact on the world than he ever knew.
At 92, Doug’s sudden death took us all by surprise, and we, his friends and neighbors, shook our heads. He honestly seemed liked he’d live forever.
We all thought we had more time to shake his hand, to buy him a drink, to pry a couple of stories, hear an inappropriate joke or two.
Fittingly honored by full military rites, Doug earned a beautiful send off. And as the bugle played Taps, we sent our own messages out into the world and beyond.
God bless you, Doug. The world is a far better place for its 92 years with you.
Just two weeks ago, we had dinner with Doug and Janet. He looks about 60-years old here, right?
This is my favorite picture of Doug and Janet because I didn’t have a camera when they were both outside shoveling snow in a blizzard last year, which absolutely would have been my favorite picture of them.
We’re pretty horrible at selfies, but I am hoping for many more great times with our friend Janet.
We had a great time hosting neighborhood parties with Doug. Here he is his with our then youngest neighborhood resident, Owen. Turns out Owen is a world changer as well.
I love this shot of Doug and Janet at his 92nd birthday party
We will always treasure the time we danced at the Harvest Moon Ball with our beautiful neighbors, Doug and Janet (who were actually ballroom dancers).
May won’t be the same without our annual birthday party for Doug.