It is Thursday afternoon, April 28th, 2011. Once again, I am back with my Dad at his bedside during this final vigil. After staying with, and watching, him throughout the night, the morning-shift team, (consisting of my wife and mother), arrived and made me go get some sleep. It has been a long time since I have had a completely sleepless night – and those few hours of sleep this morning were refreshingly welcome.
As I sit here, I am looking at Dad’s collection of photo albums. One of them, in particular, has caught my interest. It is an album of “friends.” As I turn the over-filled pages, I see faces that I haven’t seen in years. Leo Upton, Sam Cagle, Winifred Black, Glen Harvey, Carl Adams, Gordon Mallory, James Larson, Terry Black, Jonathon Cupoli, Robert Bibb, Bob Baglin… and so many more. All of them, in this one book, are Ministers, Pastors and Missionaries. Some of whom have already passed-on before him.
The interesting thing to me, however, is that on every page, and most of the pictures, Dad has left a hand-written “Sticky-note Story” describing whom the photo is of, perhaps with the occasion or event noted, also. Out of dozens and dozens of photographs, a few of them have an even greater distinction, one that sets them apart from the rest. At the bottom of the sticky-note, Dad paid his highest compliment.
He simply wrote this one word: “FRIENDS.”