April 29, 1998
Bonnie had flown to Ohio to visit her family for the weekend. That night, lying in bed by myself, I started thinking about some of the people I've known.
My grandmother, who made oatmeal raisin cookies for me while I rode my tricycle on the sidewalk outside her kitchen window. She died when I was only six years old, but homemade oatmeal raisin cookies are still my favorite kind of cookie.
My other grandmother, who made me a sock monkey doll that I played with until it fell apart. She's been dead for years, but I still have the sock monkey doll that she made for my little brother.
My kindergarten teacher, who came to my house and taught me how to tie my shoelaces by tying a knot, then making two bunny ears and tying them in a knot. I don't remember her name, but I still tie my shoes that way, and I taught my little goddaughter to tie her shoes that way, too.
My Uncle Dom, who gave me a camera, a big box of photo equipment, and taught me how to develop a roll of film when I was 12 years old. A few years later, in high school, I wasn't tempted to use drugs or alcohol, and I didn't need peer pressure to tell me who I was. I was the school photographer.
My high school guidance counselor, Mr. Rurey, who told me, "You can be anything you want to be." I think of Mr. Rurey often, since, at various times, I've made a living as a singer/songwriter/musician, pastoral assistant, photographer, television producer/director, college instructor and computer consultant.
My college professor, Dr. Savage, who told me, "You should be a teacher." I think of Dr. Savage often, because he was right — teaching is what I love to do best.
My college professor, Dr. Poor, who mentored me, treated me like a younger brother, and set the teaching standard that I still aim for after all of these years.
My goddaughter, Sabrina, who once asked me if I was an angel, and later told me that I was her best friend. Sabrina taught me a lot about being a godfather, and a lot about letting her be a child. I often think of many of the good times we had together. There will always be a big Sabrina-shaped place in my heart.
My goddaughter, Sabrina, who once told me that I was her best friend. Sabrina taught me a lot about being a godfather, and a lot about letting her be a child. I often think of many of the good times we had together. There will always be a big Sabrina-shaped place in my heart.
My goddaughter, Ana, who I helped raise from birth to age six. I will always think of Ana as my daughter. I have countless happy memories of Ana that no one can ever take away from me. There will always be a big Ana-shaped place in my heart.
My wife, Bonnie, who has chosen to love me through better and worse, through richer and poorer, in sickness and in health, for almost 23 years of marriage. Even when she is 500 miles away, I can still feel her love and presence in my life.
Everyone who I have ever loved, and everyone who has ever loved me is still with me in my heart. I carry them with me wherever I go. Each of them is a part of who I am today. So, no matter where I am, I'm never really alone.
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