In true Thanksgiving spirit, I've noticed my Facebook friends are taking the time to be thankful. Many are happy for friends and family who make their lives special. Others are grateful for those no longer physically on the Earth still making an impact in spirit.
I could name a few.
Actually, I could name hundreds. In the last 40 years, I've been blessed to meet people from many walks of life. I love meeting people, and I am just as thankful for new friends as those who have been with me for the long haul.
They know who they are.
About a year and a half ago, I met someone who would teach me about life in a short time. I didn't necessarily think about it at the moment, but my friend Glen Harris' words were wise and honest. His stature alone was enough to speak volumes. He was a tall man with a big heart.
That's not necessarily something easy to hide.
I met Glen and his wife, Susan, when I moved back to Carbondale into a four-plex where their son Luke and his then-girlfriend, Andrea, live below me. In an 18-month period, I've seen Luke and Andrea become engaged and marry, as well as celebrate all life's happenings in between.
I like to say I'm like their crazy cousin without the blood relation.
This summer, I joined Luke, Andrea, Glen and Susan for camping up Three Mile Road above Glenwood Springs. The area had breathtaking views of the valley, and we were able to explore with our dogs on a fun off-road experience in Glen's vintage Jeep.
If dogs can smile, Elwood's was a perma-grin that day.
When Glen arrived to the camp spot, he was ecstatic. He had just seen a moose in the wild. The excitement on his face showed his love of nature and the mountain valley where he was born and raised. We never saw the moose, but the idea we might catch a glimpse of the majestic creature was exhilarating.
Andrea was mostly hoping we didn't come face-to-face with Marty the Moose.
In August, at Luke and Andrea's wedding, I was standing next to Glen when the happy couple started their Dollar Dance. In this old wedding tradition, guests slip the bride and groom dollar bills for their new life together in exchange for a dance. I didn't have cash on me and was disappointed I couldn't participate. Glen pulled out his wallet, floated me a 20 spot, and told me to get out there. I danced with Andrea and told her how lucky she was to marry into such a sweet family.
I was thankful to be in the presence of such love.
Just two weeks ago, Glen shared some insight with me during a conversation about my laughable singledom while we were all out for margaritas at Mi Casita. He was a big fan of an old flame I brought as a date to a birthday dinner party for Luke and Andrea, and was wondering if there was potential. I laughed and said he would rather raft on the Grand Canyon for two months than get married and start a family.
In hearing this, the look on Glen's face turned serious. He told me something I'll never forget. And always cherish.
"These guys might be OK with being alone when they're in their thirties, even forties. They can go rafting on the Grand Canyon at the drop of a hat, or anything else they want to at any time," he said. "But they might not look ahead, to their fifties or sixties, when time with their children and grandchildren will bring them more happiness than they will ever know."
That was Glen Harris.
He knew such love, with a wife he cherished for decades, two sons who married their sweethearts this summer, and a beautiful baby grandson, Louis Oscar.
The love his family continues to share, especially amidst his unexpected passing last week, is a testament to his own big heart. Glen may no longer give me one of his signature hugs when I suffer a loss, like my old dog passing away, and joke with me about my dating life. He may not be in the audience to support my comedy or give me life advice in the physical world.
But he'll be there in spirit. I'm thankful for Glen's wisdom and love of life.
May his spirit live on in all of us who loved him.
- "April in Glenwood" appears every Wednesday. April E. Clark sends her love to the Harris family. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.