the great english novelist who campaigned against the poverty and sufferings of others

I’m supposed to get a gentle reminder to post at least once a week but that reminder did not come. I have a goal of posting at least 52 times this year because of how my writing took a nosedive during my writer’s block years. I’ll definitely surpass that but I’m a little disappointed that I missed a week.

Well, it’s not like anything terribly important happened last week.

This past weekend is a different story.

At noon, Katy and I finally accomplished something we’ve been thinking about since late 2012 and attempted to plan since 2013: See Jim Smith again.

Jim was our former publisher. I learned a lot from him while I was essentially cowboying my way through Hopewell. He’s the consummate southern gentleman: While swilling a glass of tea, he’d call you everything but a child of God and say it with a smile. After one of our knock-down, drag-out fights — one so large, our sports editor Jonathan thought I’d lose my job — we went out for pie à la mode. We missed him; we never got a chance to tell him how much we appreciated him.

We had lunch, got caught up in each other’s lives and, one again, he offered us some advice in his Jim Smith way.

In advance of the trip, I let Jim know I got married. He is a strong believer in romance, so I knew it would warm his heart to know how things turned out since we saw him last.

I did not expect him to get us gifts.

Jim and his wife Rae collected prints. It never dawned on me until he said that that the artwork that hung around the newspaper building were things they had put there. He gave me one to remember them by.

Although Jim was my boss for only a short while, there were so many things during that period I’ll never forget. I saw a man who, decades later, still had a passion for our calling. I saw a man and a woman who were, decades later, as passionate for each other as they were their journalism. I grieved with him when Rae died. I was honored to be one of her pallbearers.

I didn’t need anything else to remember the Smiths by, but I’m grateful that I can look on a wall in the living room I share with my wife and see a representation of their life and their love.

Thank you for everything, Jim and Rae.

Thank you for everything, Jim and Rae.

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