Mrs. Stoppelkamp called me the other day.
There was a time, when working on a column, I would ask myself, "What would Mrs. Stoppelkamp think?" Then I would buff the rougher edges of my comment so as not to upset her.
When I worked at the Burlington Times-News, Mrs. Stoppelkamp would call to tell me what she thought of my columns. She was forever kind, funny and utterly Christian in her reaction, even in disagreement.
One day, she came in to work to give me a birthday hug.
She always found a way to make my day.
Well she did she called.
"Sawyer County Record, this is Rich," I answered.
"This is Nancy Stoppelkamp," she said.
Now this was on production day where we're putting out the newspaper. It's the day where all my elderly colleagues and I sit at our desks and sweat. One minute out of my time is one minute too long.
But for Mrs. Stoppelkamp, the day stopped. I would talk to her as long as she wanted.
We caught up on health, news about our kids and life in general. As always, we laugh much.
Mrs. Stoppelkamp read one of her most recent religious poems and it was quite beautiful.
I don't know how long we talked because people are more important than anything else and I reserve time for all in front of me.
Before hanging up, we promised each other to stay in touch because we hadn't talked in two or three years.
What a remarkable life I've been given to have made so many dear friends, here, near and away.
Peace and friendship unto all of you my brothers and sisters.