It’s been a bitter sweet week. Sweet in the fact that our Good to Go gang is traveling on the “Wonders of Greece in the Footsteps of Paul”. A fun group in a beautiful country, enjoying some fascinating history, we are blessed.
The bitter part is the heartache of being gone when a friend passes away. And I’ve lost two friends this week.
The husband texted me that the Grand Lake community had lost a good one, Darrell Mastin has passed away. Darrell was a coach and a teacher not just in sports but in life. He was a champion for Grove. He was involved in so many things and our paths often crossed. We emceed events, judged pageants and celebrated July 3rd many times. Darrell always had time to visit and made everyone feel special. His huge smile and bigger laugh made him a person that you stepped away thinking “The world needs more Darrell Mastins.” If you were fortunate enough to know that the brief case he carried wasn’t filled with documents to generate income, but with magic markers to generate joy, then you probably received one of his caricature cards, made especially for you. He was quite an artist. His sudden passing eliminated the chance to honor him and say “thank you” for all he did for our community. Bitter sweet.
Last weekend we were still touring in Greece and niece Jena Beth texted me that my buddy, John Reber, had passed away. He was just a few days short of his 91st birthday. John was one of the first bus drivers I worked with when I started in this crazy travel business 25 years ago. We literally have been all over the United States together. We have put miles on our buses and bodies putting smiles on peoples faces. He was full of energy and ready for adventure. We ate ice cream, played ping pong and created stories. I made him dress like Elvis, he saved me from a bear, and we laughed until we cried many times. I never fly through Boston Logan airport that I don’t tell our “bus stuck in the airport” tale. He loved to step-on my bus in his hometown of Pawhuska and show us around.
He lived a full, active life and deserves to be finished with this worldly tour. He will be mentioned in my book more than once and I expected to put a copy in his hands when I finished it. I missed the chance to honor him, he finished before I did. Bitter sweet.
Once again I’m reminded that life is short, uncertain and not to be wasted. Take the time to be sweet- say thank you, I appreciate you, and I’m glad we are friends. Missing the opportunity, like missing the friend, will be bitter.
Patti Beth Anderson has more than 20 years of experience in the group travel industry taking people all over the world. Her motto is "I return with the same number of people I left with… not necessarily the same people, but the same number nevertheless. So no 'crankpots' allowed" She may be reached at 918-786-3318 or firstname.lastname@example.org.