It was just a week or two ago that I was writing here about old friends. When I was in DC last week I was able to connect with an old friend I hadn't seen in quite a while - Rob Mackey - and his wonderful wife, Shirley.
Rob and I have known each other for more than 20 years. I met him shortly after I moved to Hutchinson. We were both doing radio news, and at one time he was my boss, and I really respected him in that role.
He left radio and became the director of United Way locally. Some years later I took a job running a United Way agency. It's curious how some lives intersect repeatedly, as if there's some "business" we need to complete together.
A few years ago, Rob took a job at the United Way national office. With their son out of college and married, and their daughter still in college, they made this major life change - moving from Hutchinson where Rob was born and raised and they had lived all of their adult lives - to the Washington DC area.
I ran into Shirley a few months ago when she was visiting and we had a nice chat, albeit brief. She was so gracious and invited me to come stay with them whenever I wanted to visit. (And, yes, she does know my penchant for taking people up on such offers!)
When I knew I was going to be in DC for the conference, I emailed Rob to see if - by chance - they would be in town while I was there. I had a free night before the conference started. Rob picked me up at the hotel and we drove out to their home where we met Shirley and we all went to dinner. It was such a wonderful evening - truly, truly, truly wonderful. The conversation flowed freely, we reconnected, we talked about the future, and we discussed their new life.
They love living there and all the opportunities it affords, but it has had its challenges as any major change like this does. But, I have to tell you, I really admire them for taking such a huge risk and making such a major change in their lives.
Rob and Shirley are the kind of people you want in your world. They're both kind, generous and incredibly gracious. Through all the years I've known him, I have never heard Rob say an unkind word about anyone. Both Rob and Shirley are people I am honored to call friends.