Today’s story is contributed by Kirsten West Savali.
“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
My father, Theodore Joseph “Bubber” West, was blessed with both in abundance. As a business owner, civic leader and city alderman for over seventeen years, he used his influence to help everyone he encountered, never once expecting reciprocity. Daddy never met a stranger. If he had a dollar, he would give you that dollar and apologize that he didn’t have more to share.
One of his most endearing characteristics was that he loved to laugh; you could feel the unfettered joy in his laughter. He told the corniest jokes, but you couldn’t help but laugh with him, because it was contagious. Tears would stream from his eyes, rendering it impossible not to join in the moment.
His favorite joke was when people would rush into his office asking for one thing or another; he’d look up at his ceiling and say, “Ssssh… did you hear that?” People would always abruptly stop speaking, follow his gaze, and say, “No, Bubber, I didn’t hear it.” He’d say, “Listen closer; you still don’t hear that?” They would concentrate harder, listening for anything out of the ordinary then say, “No Bubber, I still don’t hear anything.” That twinkle in his eye would get brighter, and he’d say, “I know, it’s been like that all day!” Now, that might not be funny in and of itself, but the fact that he thought it was hilarious made it so… every single time.