Jer and I got the saddest news on Friday. A really great guy and dear friend of ours from our days in Denver tragically died on Jan 3rd. Solomon Roberts came into our lives at a time when Jer really needed a friend. I think it was 2003, Ellie was just a baby, Erik just three. Solomon came to town to manage the store. Jer was his assistant manager. He was such a great guy! I know people always say stuff like that about people after they've died, but Solomon was a man that everyone said it about when he was alive! He had an easy manner about him and quick smile and kind eyes. He was very kind and so thoughtful. He was adventurous and loved to travel. He had great stories to tell, but he was humble about all the great things he had done. He and Jer became great friends. After Jer spent a day with Solomon, Jer was happier, lighter. A job that was once a drudgery, was suddenly fun for Jer ... because he and Solomon were working together.
Solomon did me a huge favour for which I will always be in his debt. You see one of the perks of being the manager was that you got to drive the company truck to and from work. In Atlanta Jer was the manager and we had that perk - which really was a perk for me, because we only had the one car, when Jer had the company truck this meant that I had a car at home. For a stay-at-home mom in a sprawling urban city a car is . . . well, fabulous to have! When we moved to Denver in March of 2002, we lost the perk of the company truck.
But a year or so later when Solomon came to town, out of the blue he suggested that he and Jer drive together to work. It just so happened that Solomon bought a house near where we lived. I guess we shared the desire to live on the west side of Denver, to be close to the mountains. He loved to ski. I used to love to ski, but mostly, I just wanted to live near the mountains.... anyway, we ended up living in the same area, went to church together too. For he and Jer to ride together wasn't much out of his way and he and Jer became good friends during their long commutes. (nearly an hour one way, if memory serves)
Solomon didn't need to this, but I'm pretty sure he knew that this would be a nice thing for me and the kids. If he didn't realize, I let him know how grateful I was. This meant that the kids and I could go off on not just errands, but daily adventures!! We went all over that city and beyond - to places like Tiny Town, to the Railroad Museum, (Erik was really into trains at the time) to the Denver Children's Museum,(which we got a membership to so we could go all the time) to Library story times, to Kindergym, to go swimming at the Link Recreation Centre pool and even to Erik's rock climbing class for four year olds. I think Solomon liked that Erik got to do that climbing class. I don't remember a day that they didn't drive together and it made my life and the kids lives so great! For this act alone I will be forever indebted to Solomon for his thoughtfulness and kindness, but add to this what his friendship did for and meant to Jer . . .
Solomon is from a huge family. He was an uncle before he was born. He loved his family and talked about them all the time. I met his mother and father one day at church when they were in Denver for a visit and I think a sister was there as well. He was a natural with Erik and Ellie. Solomon was one of Erik's first friends.
Since moving back home in 2004 we have kept in touch on and off with Solomon, through facebook, Christmas cards and early on through occasional phone calls. It was great to see what he was up to. Even though, we didn't see him every day and he was more a part of our past than our present day life, I am really so very sad he is gone. I just really loved knowing that he was out there on his adventures and that the world had such a kind, generous and fun-loving person in it. I have hardly been able to speak of his death at all, and can't write this without shedding many tears. He was a great man. I was so looking forward to seeing him again, hoping he'd come on one of his adventures up north to water ski on our lakes . . . My only solace is that I do believe that I will see him again one day. His was a life well lived!!
Solomon and I are the same age. Born just a few weeks apart. When I think about all this being forty business and writing about the new things I'm trying or the adventures I'm going on, from now on I'm going to be thinking of Solomon's tragic and early departure from this life, at a mere forty years old, and I will be grateful for every day I get one more. Even if it's a miserable day.
One time Jer and I went with Solomon and Ken Lass out wake boarding. I didn't try it. I've decided to add that to my list. Snowboarding too, I'm going to try that. Life is an adventure and I will not be missing it!
Here is a link to Solomon's obituary. I still have a hard time believing it is true.