Thursday, April 10, 2014

Routines and Memories

Many thanks to Annie for this image which pretty much captures the essence of a pleasant memory among many which will flutter around in my mind forever. 

Travel does cost money, but with memories like these, it's about the best bang for the buck, in my opinion.

Geese are honking. The sun is shining. 

Willie, Debbie, my sister Barbara, Randy Wilhelm and the journalism students have made it to the Spokane Airport for their morning flight to San Diego and the national Journalism Education Association convention.

From what I've heard, this will be the first-ever flight for some students and from what I remember of San Diego, they're gonna love every minute of their upcoming adventure.  

This trip will be very different for Willie and Debbie, where in Ireland they were dealing with the old codgers.  Probably comparable behavior as Debbie reports boarding passes left behind, new boarding passes for some and Willie having to make two trips through security to make sure everything was okay.

Here at the Lovestead, doggies have been out for their first run of the day.  Todd and Brooke arrived here about 4:10 a.m. with their beds, and they'll again be doing sleepovers here through Sunday. 

Bill is getting ready to go to work, and I think we're both feeling somewhat human again after a reasonably good night's sleep. 

In fact, he just hollered upstairs about the Bonner County history write-up in this morning's paper, mentioning my brother Mike and some other local cadets at West Point who were participating with the Corps of Cadets in the funeral procession in New York City honoring Gen. Douglas McArthur. 

Somehow 50 years later, it seems that Mike has some bragging rights to a significant day in the history of the United States. 

So, with the morning paper routine, doggie walks and my solo down South Center Valley Road where I saw three dear bounding through Meserve's field on this beautiful April day, life is returning to normal.

Sadly, however, I must note the passing of a good friend, colleague and even a family relative by marriage.  Shortly after we arrived home Tuesday evening, I received word that Ron Hunt had passed away in Phoenix. 

The Hunts, the Beaudoins, the Iversons and others travel together every year with their motor homes to spend winter in the desert.  In early February, Ron was taken to the hospital with low oxygen counts, pneumonia and heart problems.

He's been in four hospitals all together with medical teams doing their best to help his recovery. Unfortunately, that was not to be, and I speak with confidence when I say that his family, our Sandpoint High teaching family (past and present) and the community have lost a very special friend and human being.

Ron was fun, he was funny, he was kind, compassionate and empathetic about the needs of others. He truly walked the talk, using his leadership skills to spearhead fundraising events, manage our staff social events, speak up when others would not and work behind the scenes for people in need.

We Love's were recipients to his generous, thoughtful ways when our house burned down in 1984. I shall never forget what he and the staff and the community did for us to patch our lives back together.

I shall never forget his gesture of pulling Annie aside one day and suggesting that she join the golf team. It was a time when someone like Ron had influence that Mom did not.  

Annie joined the golf team and excelled, competing at state every year for four years. She never knew that I had asked Ron to intervene on that suggestion until she read it in my book years later. 

After the "old fogey" contingent at Sandpoint High retired in a three to five-year wave, Ron and his wife Linda launched an annual party at their home for the bunch of us each year on the very day that other teachers had to go back to work. 

I could go on and on about this man who sought no recognition, who simply saw needs and quietly persevered on seeing them through a solution.  

On this day, a multitude of people---among them former students and athletes---who crossed paths with Ron could tell similar stories. His loss definitely leaves a deep hole in many hearts. 

My prayers and love go out to Linda, Ron's daughters and the entire family. 

RIP Ron Hunt . . . you were a good man and a treasured friend!

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