It’s been said that we are six people away from being connected to each other.
One person will know another person who knows another person who is related to another person and so on down the line until all the dots are connected. This past week, one of the people connected into my life left this earth for his place in heaven. His name is Bill Glenn.
Many of you probably knew Bill. He was well known in the community. Or you might also know his wife Charlene or one of his three children, Susan, Mary or David. But one thing is for sure, if you knew Bill, you also knew of his family.
Bill worked for many years at the Benton Post Office along with my father, Harold Davis. While I didn’t come to know Bill until later in my life, he has been a part of it since as far back as I can remember. I’m sure neither he nor his family ever knew it but Bill was discussed many times around the kitchen table at our house when I was growing up.
Many times at the evening meal, my dad would talk about his day. From the stories he told, it seemed clear to me that working at the post office was a fun place to be. Not only did he tell us stories of the particular prank-of-the-day committed by Bill but he would also talk about Clyde Scott and “Benham.” I don’t recall Benham’s first name or if it even was mentioned but I do remember Bill.
During the meal, at some point, Dad would start to tell the story of the day. It started out in rather simple statements about the situation but quickly moved to the good stuff. Dad had a certain way of telling a story that put his listeners right into the middle of it all. As the story continued, a big grin would come across his face followed in very short measure by laughter. Not long after that, Dad’s hand would move to his face as he laughed harder and harder, enough so that little tears would fall from his eyes. Whenever the story reached this point, Dad would pause to simply laugh and before we knew it, the rest of us around the table were laughing too. We didn’t know what for exactly, but we knew it must be good because it was about Bill.
So when I learned last week that Bill had passed, I took a moment to reflect.
As I got older, I knew Bill from church at Parkview Methodist. I would sometimes be an usher and in his later years when his health started to fade, Bill sat on the very back rows next to the door leading down the hall to the bathroom. I recall him walking in one Sunday with one of those “donut” cushions to sit on. As was his custom, he always took the time to say hello to me. “Hello, Davis,” he would say. I would return the greeting. He placed the donut on the pew and told me he had named this particular seat the “Lasix pew.” I grin just thinking about it.
During my father’s last weeks, Bill was volunteering at Saline Memorial Hospital. Every day, like clockwork, Bill would come in to the room, say hello to Dad and then, with his sly grin, reach underneath his red volunteer vest or dip his hand into a paper bag and pull out the day’s copy of the Courier. “I’m not really supposed to hand these out but what are they going to do?” he would say, and that mischievous grin stretched across his face. He always was kind to Dad and anyone else who was in the room. He seemed to make it his mission to brighten the impending grief for us. I will never forget him for doing that.
I attended his funeral and as I sat there I realized that not only had Bill become part of my life, but also had his family…and I bet they don’t know it either. At home that afternoon, I looked around my house. David built the cabinets in our kitchen. Mary designed the curtains on our windows and selected the colors on our walls. So, even though Bill may be gone, his influence and character are passed down through his wife and his children to his grandchildren.
And, to my children as well. Bill and his family may not know it, but the stories my father told around the kitchen table have been passed down to a younger generation.
Thanks for the grin, Bill. And thank you for your wonderful family.
Brent Davis is a lifelong resident of Benton and Saline County. The Courier has been part of his life for as long as he can remember. He is a graduate of Benton High School. His column appears twice a week: on Fridays on Page 3 of The Saline Courier and on www.bentoncourier.com , and on the Opinion Page in Sunday’s edition of The Saline Courier.