It's never easy to say goodbye to someone or to know that you'll never see them again in this mortal life. I was saddened to hear that yesterday my dear friend Richard passed away. I met Richard when I lived in Manti a couple of years ago and was working at the only grocery store in town. From the start, I knew that he was a charmer & someone who cared a immensely for others. Richard made regular trips to the Manti Market to say "Hello" and purchase armfuls of candy. The candy never seemed to make it back to his apartment because as soon as he bought it, he was busy giving it away to us (the employees at the market) and as many little kids as he could find on his walk around the city. Richard was a very generous man.
I loved living in Manti, but I got homesick a lot. Richard was one of those people that cheered me up & made me forget that I was living so far from my family. His trips into the market always consisted of a kiss on my hand, a box of Orange Sticks, & him telling me how beautiful I was and how he wished he was a little younger. This always made my day. Sometimes while walking home during my lunch time, I had the opportunity to walk with Richard. We always talked about the same thing. He would tell me all about the benefits of walking places instead of driving. He was an expert on the subject because Richard always walked everywhere he went. You could see him everyday walking around the city of Manti with his DC shoes/sweater, black briefcase, and fisherman's style hat. He told me all the time how you needed to wear white socks when walking. These were somehow the best and would prevent blisters. He approved of my moccasins for walking to & from work because the Indians had shown us that these were excellent for walking.
Even though I didn't get to see Richard a lot after moving back to Arizona, I am so grateful that I was able to see him one last time in December. I knew in the back of my mind that that could very well be the last time I was able to see him. He looked older and weaker, but was still walking around the city with his briefcase in hand (a mystery that will never be solved). I am so grateful that he was able to meet my sweet little Jude boy and hear him one last time call EB "what's his name". He wasn't too thrilled at the fact that I had gotten married to someone other than him :). It's sad to say goodbye, but I am still filled with so much joy knowing that that kind & generous man is once again reunited with his wife. I am so lucky to have known him & to have called him my friend.