Every lucky kid has a strong adult mentor. This one was a legend and the best father-in-law or dad or grandpa one could ever hope to have. How do I know this? I knew him!
Meet "Bopi." To us kids that was his name. In fact, until now I never even knew his real name, John. When we knew him back in the eighties he was already, to us kids, as old as dirt. This Monday Bopi passed away at the age of 89. I miss you, Bopi!
The last time I spoke with Bopi was in about 2002. As kids it was always a big deal when Bopi came to visit. If one word could describe our childhood picture of Bopi it was this: he's a big guy who has a big smile and is always super nice!
When Bopi came, Kathy came, too. Kathy was one of the most important first lessons of my life. These lessons are best learned during our formative years. Being with Kathy was the first time in my life I had to sit across the table from someone who was really, really "different." Kathy suffered from health issues and to us kids she was just "retarded." In other words, Kathy was rich and so was Bopi.
Life lessons are worth gold. And character is compacted through struggle. Bopi lost his wife and battled with health issues for years. He was always cheerful. "Hi! How are ya!!" was his way. Always a smile. Always roaring laughter at the table. Always a quiet presence.
Endurance! Kathy is still here and so are Bubs and Mare and everybody else and Bopi lived to be 89! And most imporantly Bopi has left a progeny through his grand kids - he lives on. And John Iver's humor was born from him.
Last but not least, Bopi kept the promised faith. In an era when so very many have left the Christian nest, Bopi remained a true Christian. This is a gift and mystery:
"It is only through the Holy Spirit that anyone can say, Jesus is the Lord."
1 Corinthians 12:3.
A Requiem Mass will be prayed for the soul of John (aka Bopi) this week in Rome. In your charity please pray for the repose of his soul. May he rest in peace. Amen.
And the Whirlpool money? Well, save some for John Paul, Bopi!