Today, this earth lost one of the best Dads that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.
My childhood best friend, Walker, lost her father earlier this afternoon. Art Howson was a really good at a lot of things, but he was first and foremost a really good dad. Plenty of Walker's friends could write about Art...or Mr. Howson as he was known to me...better than I can in recent years, but the memories I have are from living right up the street for a majority of my time at home.
Walker and I became best friends somewhere around the first or second grade, a momentous occasion that was documented in a note from her to me in my baby book which reads something like
"I am exited for you to spin the night with me. My dad will make us waffuls in the morning"
Not only did he make us "waffuls", but Mr. Howson spent the next several years switching mornings with my father, carpooling us to school each morning. It was here that he gave me the nickname "Miss Mellow" for the way I sauntered to the car each morning, no doubt taking my time so that all could admire my latest outfit. This was truly a term of endearment, always said with his trademark smile...despite the fact that lawyers bill by the hour and no telling how much my posturing cost him.
Walker and I have talked a lot in recent years how lucky we were growing up. It was a given that her dad would make us waffles, my dad would get us Happy Meals, and our mother's would take us wherever we wanted to go. It was an idyllic childhood.
One of the hardest parts for me after we lost Rip was the loss of my innocence. It was like all of the sudden all of the scary, horrible things that I knew about but I didn't know about were all a little too close for comfort.
But how lucky were we to have that innocence in the first place? I look back now, especially now that we are grown and married and having children of our own, and realize how much effort our parents must have put into giving that to us. I am sure there were so many stressful times in their lives and yet we were shielded from all of it, how lucky we are to be loved like that.
I am sad for Walker and her family today, sad that they have lost such a wonderful man and a wonderful father. I am also so thankful that we were all lucky enough to have known him.
Thank you for being part of such a wonderful time in my life, Mr. Howson. Make my boy a waffle for me.