Guess who I ran into in Florida

While visiting my wife’s family in South Florida over Christmas, I ran into my old friend Mel Goebel from Colorado. We wrote two books and lots of articles together before I moved to North Carolina. I admire Mel as much or more than anyone, partly because of his passion for helping prisoners to get back on the sunny side of life. Mel was himself a prisoner back in the 1970s, and now he spends as much time as he can encouraging men and women behind bars and after their release.

More importantly, I respect Mel for how he cared for his first wife, Jane. I watched her slowly die of M.S. from 1993 until she died in 2009. While other men leave their women because of the smallest hardship, Mel served his woman 100 percent to the very end. He cooked her meals, put on her makeup, and helped her find joy in life. Thankfully, she was released from her suffering and is now dancing with the angels. As for Mel, he has remarried an awesome woman … and he has nothing to regret about his first wife.

Mel is the kind of guy I want to be when I grow up. Now you know why I was so happy to see him again in Florida, where they just moved a few months ago.

This chandelier belonged to Jane Goebel, and Mel gave it to us after she died. We transported it to North Carolina, and here we are putting it up in the Fox & Fiddle bed & breakfast in 2009.