03 March 2010
There are many things I will miss about the job I am being forced to leave.
Mostly, I will miss the people and the relationships I have developed with them.
Of the people I will miss the most, Mr. Douglas ranks the highest.
Mr. Douglas is a sweet, kind, gentle man who answered his nation's call to service during the Second World War. He served in the Navy and has quite a tale to tell if you are willing to listen. He is a man of many varied experiences, each one richer than the last.
Mr. Douglas came into my life about two years ago. We share similar interests in books and historical time periods, so we hit it off right away. We were always friendly, but the turning point came one day, around Veteran's Day. Mr. Douglas was lamenting that once all of the WWII vets are gone, no one will remember what they did and no one will remember their stories. I told Mr. Douglas to tell me, and I'd remember. I shared with him the Veteran's Day programming I was attending that year and the many activities I was involved in to support our military.
From that day on, Mr. Douglas and I had a special connection. Every time he comes in, he tells me a story. Sometimes it is a war story. Sometimes it is a story about life aboard a Navy ship as a young man. Other times he shares with me a story from his days as a traveling salesman, selling ladies dresses door to door. That man still has an eye for print and what will sell, let met tell you. After awhile, he started to share with me the stories of his family, his wife, and his children. He entrusted me with the story of the tragic loss of his son and the importance of organ donation. Mr. Douglas will tell you that even though nothing can take away the pain of his loss, the fact that his son's organs were used to save the lives of 12 people eases it some. Mr. Douglas and I talk of politics, the future, and our life goals each week when he comes to visit. He has become a blessing in my life, and I hope I have become one in his.
I had to tell Mr. Douglas that my time at this job is coming to an end. He told me that he was crushed and that is how I feel as well. Mr. Douglas told me he would miss me, miss me an awful lot. He came around the counter and gave me one of the biggest, warmest hugs I have ever received. Then he pulled me back, gave me a kiss on the cheek, and told me I was a special girl. There were tears in both of our eyes. There were tears in the eyes of most everyone who witnessed it.
He turned to leave and as he hit the door, he turned around and saluted me.
He asked for my contact information and I gave it to him. He says that a little distance isn't an obstacle to a good friendship, but it is inevitable that our relationship will be changed in some way. I hope we stay in touch.
I will miss seeing him every week. I will miss his stories. I will miss the twinkle in his eye and his indomitable spirit.
Mr. Douglas, you have my respect and my loyalty. I will always remember your stories. Thank you for entrusting them into my care. Fair winds and following seas.