There are tears in my eyes as I type this post today...tears of joy as I remember back and am thankful...As I was praying today and thanking God for a variety of things...Uncle Bob and Aunt Judy rose to the surface...They were WAY MORE than an uncle and aunt...they were HUGE in helping me develop into who I am...the man that I am today. A little over 3 years ago Uncle Bob went to be with Jesus...it was at the cemetery that I realized the influence he and Aunt Judy have had in my life. After the graveside service was over, Pastor Bob Combs (AN AMAZING MAN HIMSELF and mentor of mine!) pulled me aside at the cemetery...he has known my family for a long-long time...he told me that he saw what a MAJOR influence Uncle Bob and Aunt Judy had in my life...the investment of their time...investment of relationship...THEY LOVED Paul and me...they treated us like their own children. It's one of those things that I knew...but I didn't KNOW. When Pastor Bob said that to me it really grabbed my attention. And I can NEVER thank them enough for all that they had and have done for me.
I spent COUNTLESS nights at their house...many meals at the ol' Brown Derby, Woody's and "the Pizza Place." We picked out cars with them (I'll never forget the "pink" car!)...went to the fair...ate a TON of candy-root beer floats (with the frozen mugs!!) and french bread pizza's...I'll never forget watching Nightrider (I can hear the song in my head!)...Matt Houston...The Dukes of Hazard...playing tennis in their basement (HOW IN THE WORLD DID THEY EVER PUT UP WITH THAT, but I won A LOT of Grand Slam titles down there!)...basketball games at Akron U (I can still remember joking with Uncle Bob about some young coach named Bobby Huggins throwing his jacket during the game!!)...they took us to Daytona Beach...car rides after dinner at Woody's...countless games of Flinch with Aunt Judy and Uncle Bob's ENDLESS humor...he was soooooooooooooo funny...MAN I miss him!
Each of those things (and many more!!) were wrapped in conversation...in relationship...as they invested themselves and influenced me in ways that I never realized until I got much older. THEY INVESTED THEMSELVES in me...I thanked God for their influence in my life...for the hours and hours and hours they spent with me...I am eternally grateful.