Friends are relatives you make for yourself.
I have always known Robert Pence. I’ve counted him as my friend for seventy years. I bid him farewell just before Christmas with the gratitude that I’d had the opportunity to count him as my friend for as long as I did.
When I was a small child, he was enough older that I looked up to him and considered him brilliant. When I first left home to go to college, it eased my homesickness to know he was nearby on the same campus. When we were both in the military, it was a comfort to know that he was stationed just up the coast. When I edited a magazine, he took magnificant photos for the cover. When I needed air in my tires, advice on home repairs, or information about anything, he helped me.
I shared his fascination with antique machinery, railroading, computers and the minutia of history. I admired his talent with composition and attention to detail in his photography. He enlarged my world, helped heal the bruises of life experiences, and shared the depth of his spiritual self. Although we weren’t relatives, one of the greatest complements I ever received was when he introduced me by saying, “This is my sister….”
After all of these years, I still look up to him and think he was brilliant.