Sister Chris and Steve staged the final celebration of John’s 78th birthday. What a delight it was! We met in South Carolina, about halfway between our towns, and feasted on Italian food at Olive Garden. The wait staff let us stay as long as we had breath and the will to talk. Chris took a photo of us from across the table.
We dispensed with aging illnesses quickly, caught up on church news, and went to the fun stuff. We talked about cruising, driving to New York, and family anecdotes. I enjoyed listening to Chris and John compare their special times spent with their doctor dad. Occasionally when Dr. M. went on house calls, he would take one child with him. Chris remembers always having her library book to read while he saw a patient. John’s treat was stopping by a freight yard on the way home to watch the steam engine rearranging cars. Steve doesn’t volunteer much, but he will respond if asked a direct question. I asked if he and his dad did anything special together.
Steve told the story of his invitation to be on the board of directors of a national religious organization. He told the members of the board, “I’m surprised you asked me to serve, after all the nights I’ve spent in jail.”
He made it more graphic for us. He said you get an odd feeling when the gate clangs shut at night and you hear the key turning in the lock.
For 23 years I worked for Steve in the accounting firm, and he was the fairest employer I’d ever known. I admired him for many things, especially the way he lived his faith. His standing in the community was very high. Jail???
The background is this. Steve’s uncle was the sheriff of a distant town, and occasionally his dad took him to see those relatives. They lived in small quarters in the jail. Everyone visited during the day, and Steve and his dad spent the night in a jail cell – plenty of space with no cost to them or the town. It certainly made a good story the way Steve strung it out.
Because Chris and Steve gave John a birthday balloon, the waitress brought him a free dessert. Nice! Now we are enjoying that balloon marking John’s seat in our house. The added bonus is that the fellows will put pressure on me to dispose of our Fourth of July balloon. I won’t fight them on it.