There are many brilliant and beautiful people in this world. People whose lives compel you to reach higher and love harder. People who don’t have to say much because their character speaks loud enough. People who are soft, but strong. Quiet, but booming. Mr. Strader was one of those people.
I met him while I lived with my best friend, Teron, during our first year of college. Teron’s mom would give us bags and bags and bags of groceries. I think I first met Mr. Strader while he helped bring groceries into our dorm. He had a calm presence. He was helpful and kind. He wore a genuine smile. And that was the Mr. Strader I always met.
Over the years, I’d get to see and know him more and more. I spent a decent amount of time around my Teron’s family and I was always met with the same Mr. Strader. He was kind. He smiled. He had a calm presence. No matter what was going on--whether at a BBQ or in the midst of a tense situation--he was always the same Mr. Strader.
A few years ago, Teron had to update part of his roof. I decided to lend a helping hand. I didn’t know much about roofing, but I could help carry things and hold ladders. Thankfully, Mr. Strader was also there. While the three of us worked together, Mr. Strader would softly teach us a technique or share a tip. He was an incredibly bright man.
Mr. Strader loved his family. Even though I wasn’t a part of his family, I felt he also loved me.