Last year we went with our children to a retirement picnic for three of their favorite high school teachers. As we were visiting with friends there, we were introduced to another retired teacher. He had taught at the school several years before our children attended, so we did not know him.
“I am surprised you have never met,” said our friends. “Mr. Brown goes to our church. And he lives near you, out on the main road near your subdivision entrance.”
It was a joy to meet Mr. Brown that day. He was quite conversational in his own quiet, mannerly way. We had several common acquaintances and experiences. Visiting with him was a delight.
Early on in our conversation he pulled from his shirt pocket a photo of a beautiful, smiling blonde lady. “This is my wife,” he said. “I miss her every day.”
I do not know how long ago Mrs. Brown died, or how long they were married, or how many children they had, or if she was a good cook. I do not know if he carried her picture there before she passed away, or just since she has been gone.
What I do know, I saw in Mr. Brown’s face that day – he was still very much in love with her.
Soon afterwards we saw Mr. Brown in the hallway at church. After we greeted each other and moved on, my husband said, “I wonder if he has Mrs. Brown’s picture in his pocket today?”
Then we read in our church newsletter that Mr. Brown was in the hospital. We never knew exactly why – some kind of heart issue – but we both imagined that Mrs. Brown’s picture was there in the hospital beside him. Thankfully he didn’t have to stay very long.
Not long after that we saw Mr. Brown as we were on the way home, riding his lawnmower, cutting his yard. He had on a straw hat with a good shady brim. “I wonder if Mrs. Brown got that hat for him.” I commented. “And I wonder if her picture is in his pocket right now.”
There are so many things I would like to talk further about with Mr. Brown. But even if I never get the chance, he has still made a lasting impression on me. I will never forget Mrs. Brown’s picture in his pocket, and his showing it to us the day we met.
And I know she is still – in every way – very close to his heart.