When we visited PEI in 2009, Tom was hospitable and sweet. He had a special room on the 3rd floor of his house where the boys loved to play. 3-year-old Silas discovered some model cars on the shelves near his desk...they were not meant to be played with. Si found these hands-off cars quite irresistible and broke a couple of them. We were very upset about it when we found out and apologized to Tom. They were expensive cars and we were worried about replacing them. He went on to say that they were just cars and only sit up there collecting dust and not to worry about it. I, however, couldn't get it off my conscience. This year when he returned to Borrego from PEI, he gave each of the boys (including Jamie) one of those "demolition derby" cars. His generosity is incomparable and his forgiveness good. In fact, I am quite sure our destructive Silas was never a burden to him. He loved us well.
Just before last Christmas I got really sick. Jamie had to work but attended the men's breakfast that day at the church. Jamie told Tom how sick I was. Tom picked the boys up for me that day and took them down to Target so they could pick out some Christmas gifts to give to me and J. They got Jamie a power strip and a bag of peanuts. I got a beautiful incense/oil burner and peanuts. :)
When I was trying to lose my weight last year, I often bumped into Tom at the Fudge Factory, and he'd share a bagel with me so we'd both not eat too much. And one day at church, we met at the refreshment table at the same time and picked up a cookie. He looked at me and said: "I'll put mine back if you put yours back." So we did and walked away accomplishing self-control in that moment...together. :) What a doll!
I lost 25 pounds in the past year and Tom often affirmed me and encouraged me and told me how proud he was of me and how good I looked. Like a proud daddy or grandpa...and so fun and dear. It's just not right that he is gone.
A couple of months ago, I had an especially difficult time with Silas one Sunday morning. I was quite upset about it and was crying after church one day. I was telling my mom about it when Tom came over to see what was wrong. He gave me the handkerchief in his pocket. Last week, I was folding the whites and pulled the handkerchief out of the basket. I don't think he and Karen will mind if I keep it.
In recent months, I've been learning how to run the sound system. Since I usually am alone with the boys, Tom asked if he could sit with them for me while I was occupied int he sound booth. So in recent weeks, the boys have been sitting with Tom in church.
He and Jamie occasionally got together to work out at the Road Runner Club. He had asked Jamie to work out with him the morning he died. And Jamie didn't. It's something we think about, though we know God is sovereign...and we don't take responsibility...but there are "what ifs" in our minds. What if Jamie was there when he fell? But God, You know the number of all our days.
The Friday before Tom walked into the welcoming arms of Jesus, the boys and I drove down to Christmas Circle to got o the Farmer's Market. I parked the car and after we were done at the market, we walked to the post office, and the library. From the Library we waited to cross the street to go to the store. We were on one side of Palm Canyon and Tom was on the other. We waved and smiled and shouted. It was quite traffic-y and eventually we were able to start crossing. Tom made it to the center of the street first, held his hands out to stop all traffic for me and the boys. We hugged, the boys high-fived Mr. Tom; and we went on to our opposing sides of the street.
Every year as summer ends and the snowbird season begins here in Borrego, I am always so anxious for the arrival of Tom and Karen from PEI. It always seems to take the longest time for them to return and I'm always dreading the day that they leave us for the summer. I wonder now how long we will have to wait until we see our Tom again. Longer than a few months, I'm afraid.
Come quickly, Lord Jesus. We miss our friend.