Before Gentog opened it’s doors it was a dream. It took several months of planning to figure out what kind of business Murt and I would build. We knew we wanted to do it, but it was scary to leave the security of our traditional careers. After we decided we wanted to do something intergenerational (so I could spend time with the elderly and she could spend time with kids), it was still scary. I did most of my thinking and praying about it at church.
Our parish, like many, has it’s regular ushers. For many years the 9 o’clock mass was sure to have Bob Jones standing at the doors. Everyone knew him. He was a lifetime member of St. Anthony’s, and a familiar face. He was famous for his magical touch with crying babies. If there was a fussy baby in the congregation, Bob would find it, offer to walk with it, and he’d smile as he walked up and down the side aisle. The baby would inevitably stop fussing and enjoy the ride. Magical. Every time I saw it, I would think of my future company and know that I was on the right track. Elderly adults and young children DO belong together.
After we opened our doors, I learned that Bob was suffering with Alzheimer’s disease. His wife knew and trusted my husband and I, and she occasionally brought Bob to spend the day at Gentog. He always carried a “treasure” in his shirt pocket. Some days it was beautiful rocks. One day it was the rattle from a snake. Another day it was money from different companies. The Gentog kids knew Bob had treasures to share, and they would eagerly check out that shirt pocket. Bob delighted in sharing his treasures. Dementia didn’t change the magic.
Bob passed away this year. When Jim and I attended his funeral, I was touched to learn more about the younger Bob that I didn’t know. I was impressed by his son’s tribute to Bob. He told of how Bob always encouraged his children to live every day remembering to do something for each of the four “H” words. He said to always do something that will make you Happy. Always do something that will make you Healthy. Always do something that will get you to Heaven. And always do something to keep Hope alive. Wise words from a wise man.
We loved you, Bob!!