Gratitude is the Memory of the Heart

25 Nov

Something that I think is often overlooked is that, in addition to writing for The Middlebury Campus, Jeff was also active with the Community Friends during his time at Middlebury.  Every week, Jeff would spend several hours of his free time hanging out with his middle-school-aged friend, Jason.  While they participated in a wide variety of activities, it is my understanding that the two of them often spent Saturday mornings playing sports together. Jeff would take Jason down to Pepin Gym or the Field House or something and the two would hang out and shoot hoops.

More than once while we were out, Jeff would say that he had to wake up early the next morning to meet his community friend.  I’m also pretty sure that no matter how late he went to bed or how hungover he might have been, Jeff did not miss many–if any–of those meetings.  His fondness for his mentee was evident, but I believe that Jason was deeply attached to Jeff as well.  At the end of the year, Jeff took the boy and his mother out for a final dinner, and I think that the two made it a point to attend his graduation.

So Jeff, in remembering how you were such a positive influence on that boy’s life, I am thankful for all the ways that you have touched mine.  We didn’t know each other for very long, but I hope you realized just how big an impression you made on me, in my head and in my heart.  Thank you for all the big things: for caring, for keeping in touch, for always taking the time to see how I was doing, for being a part of my life. Thank you for all the little things: the sports tips, the jokes, the drunken text messages, your use of the word “egregious.”  Thank you for being you.  And thanks for meeting me for coffee (and buying me said coffee) that one time…even though there was a big NBA playoff game that you had to catch the same night.  There’s no one else quite like you. 😉

PS: Dear Jeff, that winky face emoticon was just for you. I know how much you enjoy those. Love, Thao.


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