Kevin’s Peace of Mind
www.kevintharpe.com (770) 503-1022
Remembering Alan My Friend, My Cousin, and My Brother
You find out who your real friends are when it comes time to move. When I had to pack up my Atlanta law offices over 20 years ago and move to Gainesville, I was planning to do the whole thing myself with my wife, Missy. We were going to put everything into boxes and move them into storage ourselves. Then, out of nowhere — literally —my cousin Alan and his wife, Linda, showed up to help. That’s the kind of person Alan was. He had the ability to know when you needed a friend, and he’d always make sure to show up at just the right time. Alan didn’t have a lot of money, but he was generous with his time and with his heart. He and Linda didn’t live close by, either. They drove at least four hours to come and help, and they spent all day Saturday and Sunday packing and moving boxes with us. As kids, Alan and I hadn’t always been close. Since Alan was 10 years older than me, I was really closer to his brother Scott. Scott was my age, and the two of us looked up to Alan, and sometimes the two of us would team up to pester Alan to no end, like younger brothers and cousins have a tendency to do. There was a lot to look up to, though. Alan was an Eagle Scout, a good baseball player, and a leader for the youth at his church. After Alan graduated high school, he joined the military and served all over the world. Alan was one of those guys who you might not have seen in years, but the second you were with him, you could pick right back up again. It wasn’t until Alan’s mom passed away that I came to know him as a friend. He’d been living in Savannah, along with his parents (my aunt Mary Ann and my uncle Boyce). When Aunt Mary Ann passed away, Alan, Uncle Boyce, and Alan’s wife, Linda, decided to team up and buy a farm down in Claxton, Georgia, complete with horses, ponies, chickens, pigs, and even an emu.
He knew I was a lawyer, so Alan reached out to get my advice on how to set it all up.
But regardless of how it was set up, Alan’s No. 1 priority was that Linda could be happy and would be protected if something happened. Alan absolutely adored Linda. Whatever was lacking in Alan’s first twomarriages, he certainly found it, and then some, when he found Linda. If she wanted something, come hell or high water, Alanmade sure Linda was going to get it. Not long after moving to the farm in Claxton, Linda had a brain aneurysm. It totally disabled her, and she had to move to a nursing home. But that didn’t stop Alan from being 110% devoted to Linda. He visited her at the nursing home every single day. Alan would bring his supper over, and he and Linda would sit together and share their meal. I saw with my own eyes how Linda’s face would light up when Alan would bring her a strawberry sundae from Dairy Queen. It was clearly her favorite thing— and Alan’s, too. God truly brought the two of them together. Alan and Linda were one of those couples that seemed like they had been together their whole lives, and for Alan, nothing would ever keep him from being with his bride Linda.
Alan was a model husband, a good cousin, and a good friend.
There were two Alans in my life: the Alan that I looked up to growing up and the Alan who later became my friend— that’s the Alan I’ll always remember.
www.kevintharpe.com | 1 -J. Kevin Tharpe
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