I first met William “Bill” Pope when our daughters – my Haley Anne, and his Madison, were in the same Brownies troop.
During a Brownies Father and Daughters night event (I think it was at Alpharetta Methodist) we found ourselves askance at the stiffness of the Daddies and their daughters surrounding us. So, with reckless abandon, and certainly more than a few ‘hoops and hollers’, we proceeded to hurl ourselves down hallways, vying to see whom could out distance the other, sliding on our backsides.
Our daughters were delighted, and Bill and I each had a friend for life.
I often found myself, happily, taken aback by Bill. He was a gentleman – rather along the lines of Walker Percy (The Moviegoer, and The Last Gentleman), I think. And, I always tried to refer to him as my: “Red-headed Errol Flynn-type friend Bill”. He was dapper, soft-spoken and witty. Charming to be sure.
Bill often annoyed me, and he knew it, by “popping in” to visit with me at my offices. I would always find myself exasperated (my staff-driven calendar is both legendary and notorious for it’s lack of flexibility). But, then we would start our visit, and time would go by, and I always found myself a better man for the time well spent.
The last two times I saw Bill he came by with his eleven year old son Bryce so he could update me on their adventures together. I recall Bill standing their with his hand on Bryce’s shoulder, naught but the very picture of pride; his joy evident, and relishing every minute he could share with a friend and his son. A few weeks later Bill drove over a vintage Land Rover he thought I might like.
And, I think it will be moments when I see older cars that I’ll realize Bill’s immortalization, for me. He liked older cars that bordered on vintage. I always felt he valued the qualities of those cars as a reflection of himself. They shared qualities that included, but could never be limited to: reliability, integrity and style.
So… That’s how I’ll remember Bill, best… A man of virtu, flair and style; quick with a firm handshake; and, committed to Jane, their family, hearth, home and community.
The last communication I had from Bill was only this past Saturday night. He had sent me a text message, eager to catch up over a project we were involved with. Bill was one of the few men that could draw me out on a weekend. So, I was looking forward to calling him on the way to a soccer match with Haley Anne. I knew that afterwards I would tell Haley Anne a story; possibly about Bill and me, or at least some other friend, because that’s what Bill made me do best, in this case – be inspired by a great friend.
…but, we lost Bill and Bryce later that night. When Joanne told me numbness selfishly crawled up my legs and desperately tries to continue it’s reconciliation with my heart.
Going forward, we need to make sure we remember to reflect Bill well so that his legacy is our beacon.
This is me raising my hand.
Peace to my Brothers and Sisters.
Brian Patrick Cork