That’s from Paul Wells’ tribute to Peter Herrndorf who died last week at 82 and whose death is felt by the literally thousands of us whom Peter lifted up, especially when we and our organizations were faint of heart. It’s no surprise that, just one week after his death, the stories of his magical healing powers are legion, tear-inducing and growing.
Here’s mine: for 45 years Peter would phone me on my birthday and sing Happy Birthday to me. I knew he did this with hundreds of other friends as well and marvelled that he had the time, energy and discipline to do it.
Then when Jean and I got married, he would call on our anniversary to congratulate us. One year, he didn’t call on our anniversary, July 23rd, but the next day. I mentioned this when he called, and he said: “I’m not calling a day late; I’m calling a day early. You were married on July 25th.”
“No, Peter, our anniversary is July 23rd.”
“No, Bob, it’s July 25th.”
So I took off my wedding ring, looked closely at the date engraved on the inside and it read “July 25th.”
“Gosh, Peter, I guess you’re right.”
I was stunned. For years, we’d been celebrating our anniversary on the wrong day.
But this coming July 25th, when we celebrate our 30th anniversary, we’ll raise a glass to the man who not only cared about his friends’ anniversaries; he cared about getting them right.
We will miss him keenly.