On missing Al Hoksbergen

I know just how it will be, and I know I'd better not be late.

He'll be waiting for me in the lobby of Freedom Village, pretending to read mail or the newspaper, but really just watching the front door. And he jumps up as I enter.

The usual greetings, shaking hands, and we head for the elevator. Along the way he chats with other seniors and with food service workers, also going up.

We exit at the fourth floor. By now I can almost find the apartment blindfolded.

Two large rocks glasses are already filled with ice. We chat with Shirley for a moment, then head for the sunroom for our once-a-week session. I pour.

We cover family first, move on to church subjects---the service he attends in Holland and the one I attend in Ferrysburg. This takes time, because the worship service is dear to both of us. We touch on world affairs, sometimes laughing because our opinions would not be popular in all circles. And without fail, we get to some biblical matters. Chances are it's a new sermon he's working on. When and if he'll ever preach it is anybody's guess. His words make so much sense. It's like a mini-Bible-lesson for me.

In a heart-beat it's time for me to leave. We already mark it in our calendar for the next week.

This is next week, but it never happened.

Al Hoksbergen held his weekly session with Jesus.

My schedule is empty.


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