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Six word thursday March 28Today’s Six-Word Thursday is in memory of James Bolen, a family friend who died yesterday at 12:45 p.m. at age 76. My last memory of James was this:

On a trip home to visit my parents, we drove past the Maid-Rite, a Christopher, Illinois restaurant that’s been around for decades and has the grease-caked walls and ceilings to prove it.

When I saw his truck parked out front, I pulled over and asked my parents to wait in the car. Once inside, I slipped up quietly and sat down at the counter next to James. He was eating a piece of homemade cherry pie, which is really the only reason anyone would want to eat at the Maid-Rite.

The place was practically empty. From the corner of my eye, I felt him steal a sidelong glance to see who had the chutzpah to saddle up next to him when there were plenty of open seats. I looked straight ahead without a reaction. When he finally scanned close enough to recognize me, I faked a rude response: “What are you looking at?” I had him––and no one enjoyed being had by a practical joke more than James.

My parents strolled in later and invited him back to their house for a visit. He finished his pie and came directly there.

What I remember best about him was the way he found humor in everything. Despite many his many health issues, if you asked how he was doing, he’d pat his belly and say, “What’s out front counts!” In other words, he was well-fed and happy.

My husband has never forgotten the time he went hunting with James and my Dad. When they arrived at their hunting site and lowered the truck’s tailgate, James’ dog, a German short-hair, jumped out of the back and began peeing all over him. I’m relatively sure he had a few choice words for that dog, but he laughed as much as his buddies at his own condition. I guess he had a serious side, but I never knew it.

A lot of people had the privilege of calling him friend. We’ll miss his sense of humor and hilarious expressions. But only my two girlfriends and their brother called him Dad. They have lost the first guy who gave them safety, love and support.

To me, the world already seems so frail minus the protection of one good father.

God’s blessings to James’ family, especially my precious friends, Melanie and Michelle. May he rest in peace.

To participate in this week’s Six-Word Thursday, write a six-word tribute to your father or grandfather. In memory of James, the randomly-drawn prize is cherry pie made by the mail-order pie company, Mom’s Apple Pie.