This is a picture of a reunion of friends. The friendship is from over 50 years ago! The lady standing next to me ( Charlotte) and her brother (Monty) standing next to her, came to Saipan to visit Dave. The three of them went to school together just after World War 2. It was a fun reunion, and Harry and I had the pleasure of giving Dave's friends an island tour and joining them for some dinners. As fun as it was to be a part of that reunion of old friends, I treasure this photo for another reason. To the far right you see JP (John Pangelinan). Yes, he is talking on a cell phone while getting his photo taken. You might wonder why I think that is a good picture. The reason is simple. Today I went to JP's funeral. Jerry Tan delivered the eulogy. I laughed and cried, and mostly I identified with the things that Jerry shared about JP. I am a bit of a reserved person, kind of a 'behind the scenes' girl, and happy to be that. Not only that, but I'm a minority person on an island that is not always eager to get to know me. JP is a local man, very well known, and the head of his business. JP really had no obligation to take the time to talk with me about politics, frustrating medical referral or anything else. But he did take the time, and he always smiled, greeted me by name and thanked me for anything I may have helped him with. He was just plain gracious, generous of spirit. As a person, JP was a rare and welcome find in the work world, a true gentleman in any world. But let's get back to the picture. Yes, I do have better pictures of JP. But I like this one because after he got off from a long conversation and finally hung up the phone to hang out with us, he leaned over to me and said - I was talking with my daughter. I never forgot that. His daughter was more important than friends or socializing or getting his picture taken. Good for him. It made me smile at the time, it still makes me smile.
I am thankful that I was blessed to have JP in my life, as a good friend. No we weren't confidantes or close friends, but he took the time to be a good friend each and every time that I saw him. And what I heard at his funeral today blessed my heart even more. He did the same thing for everyone he knew. I heard my own story over and over. So I learned something from you, JP - every smile and gesture of friendship counts. Thanks for sharing your generous spirit with a quiet 'sidelines' girl. I will miss you.