I felt very close to Paul. My grandfathers had already passed, and he'd always treated me like family. The first time I met him, we got to talking about my interest in history. I was a Civil War reenactor then, and Paul thought that was the neatest thing ever. He opened up and told me about his experiences in World War II, something he'd never done with anyone else according to my wife and her grandmother.
|Paul in Germany, 6/20/1945|
Paul was a little old fashioned about some things, but he was a great guy. He had a quick wit and a jovial laugh, even though he'd often tell the same jokes over and over again. I never minded. It was a pleasure to sit with him and hear about his past, as well as his thoughts on the future. Oftentimes, when we would have lunch, he would talk about the technology of his youth as compared to the technology today. He had no idea where the world would be when my kids were his age, but he was certain of one thing--that it would be amazing.
|Paul's in the pink shirt (10/2008)|
He called me a couple of weeks ago. "I haven't seen you in an awfully long time," he said. "Maybe we could have lunch soon."
"How about tomorrow?" I asked. We were close to launch and I wasn't as strapped for time as I'd been in those busy months leading up to the fin
I dropped by the next day. My father-in-law was there, too, and the three of us had lunch. Paul was miserable, and he had been since his wife died. His health was slowly deteriorating. His eyesight and hearing had gotten worse, and he hated it. I tried to direct the conversation to other topics, like the kids or the things he'd done way back when. We toyed around with the idea of having a Fourth of July bar-be-que at my place so he could see my children. He made a fuss about not wanting dessert, but I cajoled him into eating some ice cream (which was his favorite thing).
When the hour was up, he walked his son and I to the door and we said goodbye. Despite his complaints, he still seemed strong to me. He appreciated my visit, and I hugged him goodbye and patted him on the back. I drove back to work, knowing that WildStar's launch was only a couple weeks away. I wasn't sure what the future held, but I sure as hell didn't predict that it was the last time I'd see him.
|Paul in his favorite chair.|
We make sacrifices every day. One thing trumps something else so we can get things done. I feel bad that I wasn't able to see him as often as I wished. I know he didn't blame me for it, but I'd give all those overtime hours for just one more hour with him.