The Man I Was Fortunate to Know
I have heard the saying many times before, “You don’t know what you have till it’s gone.” There are so many occasions in life where I could have learned this lesson but it finally hit me and it hit me hard.
My dad meets many people with his line of work, and he can find a way to relate to everyone, making friends for him is as easy as breathing. One day he met a man named Arthur Smith, my dad and Arthur had a lot in common. They have both lived in Arkansas and Texas, they like good food, they have a daughter around the same age, the list goes on and on. However, a few years ago his wife died of breast cancer, Mr. Smith’s daughter, Taylor, was less than ten years old and left without a mother. Nevertheless, Mr. Smith did everything he possibly could to be both mommy and daddy and he was a great dad.
Over the course of a few years Mr. Smith and my dad became best friends, we would see him on a regular basis. He became not only close to my dad but he somehow managed to become best friends with my mom too.
I never realized how important he was to me. How much his big bear hugs would comfort me, and I mean bear hug, the man was six feet, five inches tall. I took for granted the phone calls I would get from him asking me how my ski races went. How he would make sure my sister and I came to dinner with them. I remember once when we were up at a cabin the night before a ski race, Mr. Smith came with us. There were only two beds so my parents got one and Mr. Smith was supposed to have the other. He begged us to sleep on it and he insisted he would sleep on the couch because we needed rest before our big day. However, we insisted he had the bed and we got the couches. The next morning he was up when we were and even wanted to make my breakfast. I was blown away my dad would never make our breakfast for us at five-thirty in the morning! That is the kind of person he was. He always put others first and made sure they were happy.
I believe that you do not always realize how important someone is until they are gone.
On May 13, 2008, Mr. Smith passed away. I did not know what to say to anyone. Mr. Smith the man who had been at my house in the last week was gone and I would never be able to see him again. The first few weeks were weird; I could not get over the fact that he was gone. The pain has subsided but anytime I see a tall man or a man wearing a shirt he would wear reminds me of the man I was fortunate enough to know. I finally understand, you don’t know what you have till it’s gone.