Bob's Just a Word: Well done, good and faithful servant...

  • Share:

Well done, good and faithful servant...

There are less than a handful of people who regularly post to Facebook who I am able to closely follow. However, among my very favorites is Brian Benfer. Brian is an ultra-light aircraft pilot who is a gifted photographer/videographer. His prime subject happens to be my passion and my life’s work: the Central Susquehanna Valley Thruway.

Early on Monday morning, I saw that Brian had up a fresh post so I eagerly navigated to it first and was stunned by the profound beauty of his photograph. This photo immediately brought to my mind the stirring speech that then-President Ronald Reagan gave memorializing the brave Americans who perished in the Challenger disaster.

When the President spoke, live from his Oval Office desk, on that cold January day in 1986, he concluded his remarks saying: "We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them — it was this morning, as they prepared for their journey, waved goodbye, and then slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God."

After a few moments lost in thought while looking at this remarkable picture, my eyes dropped to the caption. In an instant my heart sank as I read the news that our former Chamber Board Chair, Heritage Award recipient, and longest-serving Board Member, Dave Geise had passed away a few days earlier. He had slipped these surly bonds and was now with God, I thought.

Brian’s breathtaking photo of his friend and fellow pilot, David Norman Geise, was and is the perfect tribute and treasured memory.

There are so many memories of Dave and his family that I could tell you. But now that Dave is no longer here to stand next to me, please indulge me in just this one. Upon returning to the Greater Susquehanna Valley back in 2014 to become your Chamber President/CEO, I rekindled an old friendship with one of my predecessors, Bill Brennen. Bill served as the Executive Vice President of the Central Susquehanna Valley Chamber for many years. If you knew Bill, you know that he was a ’take no prisoners’ sort of guy.

As Bill was approaching the end of his life our get togethers were all too infrequent. Dave and I had often spoken of Bill, about his failing health, and about his candor. Dave asked me if he could tag along for lunch with Bill one day. I waited longer than I should have to arrange this lunch, and as it turned out, Dave and I were among the very last people to speak with Bill Brennen. While Bill’s bodily shell was weak and broken his spirit, his wit, his grasp of local history was strong, and his well of strongly-held opinions was deep, right to the end.

Our conversation that day was broad and filled with laughter as we reminisced on topics as far ranging as Dave’s uncle Foster to the impressiveness of the peregrine falcon on Blue Hill. What was really impressive was what Bill asked us to bring over for lunch that day in his kitchen on Strawbridge Road in Northumberland.

At Bill’s request, the three of us ate his favorite lunch together. It consisted of a Whopper from Burger King with large fries for each of us, all washed down with wine from a jug of white Zinfandel.

After Dave and I said our final goodbyes to Bill that afternoon, we paused in the driveway for a quick de-brief. With a chuckle we both agreed that we would probably never have another lunch quite like that one ever again. Not sure if it was Dave or me or said it first, but when we realized that neither the conversation nor that exact menu would ever be duplicated—we broke into a shared belly laugh.

I will cherish Dave’s wise counsel and the memory of his chuckle, his belly laugh, and his constant smile and good nature will stay with me and with anyone who ever met him, forever and ever.


Leave a Comment
* Required field
Website by MoJo Active