|Taken just a month ago.|
Some years ago I was standing on the footpath outside church talking to Ernie (as a child I called him Uncle Ern, not a blood relation but family all the same) and a man came storming down the steps from the church and started tearing strips off me. The man was so angry and aggressive that he was not only not very articulate, he was barely even comprehensible. I had no idea what he was angry about and he wasn't really enlightening me but the rage was palpable and threatening. In my shock and fear I waited for the outburst to end, desperately wanting to jump in the car and get away from the scene as quickly as possible.
Ernie not only challenged my attacker but he stopped me from fleeing. With a hand on my arm and a firm "Stop There" he asked me to stand my ground in a very literal way. Still fretful a minute or two later, I was making noises about leaving and again he stopped me "You did nothing wrong. Stop here with me for a bit longer"
On the shortest day of the year, when the weather was wet and cold, Ern unexpectedly left us, although he had told Ettie he was "on his way".
Out of the many, many stories I could tell of him, I chose this one because it so perfectly illustrates the way that he always, always had my back.
So long, my friend. I'll see you again.