Celebrating Bobby: Stories from His Life, #4

It was my daughter Lora who picked Bob up at the airport when he finally arrived on a much later flight than originally scheduled. When I saw him, I knew that he had gone to some trouble to look as nice as he could. His hair was trimmed, he was clean, and he had on clean, sharply pressed clothes.

“From the Salvation Army,” he later told me. Yet the ten years of his rough and tumble style of living had taken its toll, and I doubt that I would have recognized him if I had passed him on the street. But he was still my brother. 

I’ll always wonder if his concern about looking nice was more about his feelings of inadequacy or his sensitivity to the feelings of embarrassment I might have at being seen with him. I have to confess that such feelings had crossed my mind.

As it turned out, I was just glad and thankful to be with him. We had a wonderful visit, and I was sad to see him leave, especially since I had a sense that I would probably never see him again.

Not until sometime after his visit did the heart of what Bobby had said about wanting to look as nice as he could really hit home. Although he may have dressed his words in images of appearance, what he was really doing, I believe, was baring his soul–expressing his naked desire to be re-united with his family.

It was while were we sitting around talking one evening that he said something that turned out to be the greatest gift he could ever have given me.


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