Today was a very special day.
About three weeks ago, I had been thinking about an old friend. He is an old friend that I had only seen once since I was in my teens.
Back then he was a man in his mid 60's....he was what I thought old was when I was younger.
Three days ago, December 7th, my local news station did a story on my old friend.
December 7th was Pearl Harbor Day.
My old friend, Mr. Roland Nee is 89 years old and he is a Pearl Harbor survivor. He drove me to church every Sunday after my family moved too far away from church for the church van to come get me. I remember he and I always had a lot to say to each other. He was one of the few good men in my life.
I knew after watching the news Wednesday evening, why he had been on my mind just a few weeks prior. I had to see him....I honestly thought he had probably passed away. It had been a long time after all.
So this afternoon, I get in my car and head north about 30 miles. Drove right to his house, I did! His wife, JoAnne, invited me in after I introduced myself and she remembered me. I came around the corner of living room and there was Mr. Nee, laying on the sofa. Covers up to his neck. He is thin....a wisp of a man, but his mind is all there.
I find out that back in September, he fell and broke his hip. He gets up and down pretty well but requires a walker to get around. He can no longer drive, either, but is sure to tell me that he got a new car back in January and was driving up until he fell.
Eighty-nine and still driving! Holy cow.
As our visit came to an end I get out my camera....wanting to remember this moment. A very special day.
He held my hand through our entire visit...asked me all about my life and my family. I in turn, ask him about his.
He told me he loved me and had always consider me kind of like a daughter. His wife is almost totally deaf but she shared a lot with me, too. She got my address and phone number and as she walked me out, this is what she said..."I wanted to wait and tell you when I knew he couldn't hear me...after Roland passes on, I will be living at the Whispering Wind Assisted Living Center. You'll come visit me, won't you?"
Absolutely. I will.
And with that, we hugged and I drove away... Cried the whole way home, damn near.