RIP King James
I lost a dear friend this week. Herbert L. James died very suddenly in a way we might all hope. Mr. James, 81 shared a lovely meal with his wonderful son and most elegant daughter-in-law and settled in the den of their cozy home to watch a little news before bed. He complimented Miss Charlotte on her divine fixins', fussed at his son for not hopping-to-it to clear the table. After tidying up, he sat in his favorite chair. Mr. James coughed, signaled to his son that he needed just a moment to collect himself and died. Like his bright light was simply blown out. Easily, gently but with a deafening finality that weighs on my heart like a cement block.
My friendship with Mr. James was an unusual one. I met him about 6 or 7 years ago when his daughter-in-law, a lady I love dearly and I became friends. He was a gentleman's gentleman and reminded me of all things stately and kind - paternal and grand paternal and friendly like we were connected from another time. Mr. James dressed down in a button down and wouldn't ever be caught in God's house without a suit. He had his military haircut sharpened once a week and drove himself in his mini-van to visit family and friends and live his very active life. I love that burgundy caravan. You might expect someone like me getting out of it with a gaggle of children instead of a 81-year-old fella with a twinkle brighter than Orion.
I lost my Dad about the time I met Mr. James. They shared many qualities - reverence for their wives (both deceased), deep love for their families, manners and sharp blue eyes.
My Mom had been gone for about 8 years when I met Charlotte who's beauty and grace remind me so much of dear Kathleen.
A coincidence? I think not.
I just saw Mr. James a week ago when we said good-bye to one of his grandsons, young Adam. Though at a very sad event, I was uplifted to see my Mr. James looking so well and quite vibrant. Like the true gentleman he was, he offered me his arm and escorted me around the reception like I was his queen. I have never felt so honored. When I got the call from Charlotte a few days later she said, "Clair, I'm afraid we've lost one of your biggest fans." I think not. I was his.
Rest in peace my dear friend, King James. Say hello to my parents. I miss you all.