I now live in a world without Dale Grubb. I drove down the street today and saw the back of a man walking down the sidewalk, thinking it was Dale, and then my mind told me otherwise. Dale passed on three years ago. I miss him.
He visits me sometimes in dreams, and we talk about things that I can never remember, but the fact that I recall that we’ve talked makes me feel better for a while. I’m not sure what we work out in those conversations, but I’m sure he’s giving me friendly advice without pushing. And, I’m starting all defensive and blocking him out, but then as I listen to his wisdom I realize that he’s right. Somehow he’s disarmed my pride, and I’m able to accept what he’s telling me.
Yes, that’s how he worked, for more years than I’ve been alive. He came along side you and pulled the load for awhile, took the pressure off, and gave you choices to fix things. He was gentle like a breeze, but solid and unmoving as a rock. A man to be reckoned with, one who would go toe to toe with you until you stopped wrecking your life. He risked it all because he loved people. I never really thought about how much he loved other people. I was always thinking about how much he loved me, and wondering why, because I knew what I was.
That didn’t stop him though. He came sidling up to me at a dinner function one night—sat down right next to me smiling and laughing. You see, he was a man of position, and had the respect of many people. There were over a hundred people he could have sat next to, but he chose to sit next to scruffy unshaven me, and eat his dinner. The conversation got around to the fact that I’d been laid off from work. Well, after we’d finished our dinner, he got right up and we went down to a barrel of food that he had. He dumped that thing over, and dug out the every last package with a cane that he found propped up against a wall. He was a generous man.
He once told us about the soil of the earth, and how good it is, how we should let our kids play in it and get dirty once in a while. How it was good to work hard in it. He even made us put our hands into a box full of soil and feel it—the good earth. It was something core to him, and he shared it with us. It was such a simple thing, but I’ll never forget.
Sometimes, after we’ve had a talk in my dream, I’ll sit out on the porch and listen to the wind blow through the trees as they sound like an ocean of waves. I walk out into the garden and pick up a handful of soil. I think about how I’m living in a world without Dale Grubb, and then I think I am not.