Fifty years ago today, I started a summer job as a clerk in an engineering office at Kelly Air Force Base. It also happened to be my twentieth birthday.
The boss took me around the office and introduced me to everyone who worked there. The best-looking guy in the office followed us around the room like a little puppy.
Each desk had a nameplate with the employee’s full name, so I could see the name as the worker was introduced to me.
About halfway through the room, Jack—the handsome fellow who had joined our introduction round without an invitation—spoke. “Tomorrow we’re going to take all the nameplates away, and you’re going to have to remember everyone’s name.”
Then he started laughing—and I fell in love. I didn’t think his joke was funny, but I couldn’t resist his laughter. From that moment until his death forty-six years later, he kept laughing and kept me laughing. Even when he was in advanced stages of Alzheimer’s, he never lost his sense of humor. He loved to tell jokes, to hear jokes, and to find humor in any situation. He’s been gone nearly four years, and I still miss his laughter and his love.
I don’t remember if I got any birthday gifts wrapped in pretty paper and bows when I turned twenty, but I got the greatest gift of my life (second only to salvation through Jesus Christ) when I met Jack.