I went to a memorial last night for a dear old friend of mine, Mr. Thornton Gibbs. I first met Mr. Gibbs when I was 8. My mother and I had gone to the July 4 antiques fair in Wareham and included in our ticked was free admission to The Fearing Tavern museum. There were rumors that there was a secret passage in that tavern and I wanted to go in there badly!
So I begged my Mom the whole time she was shopping and we eventually went into the old house, which was originally built in 1690 and then added onto several times.
We made it through about four rooms and me and Mr. Gibbs (the tour guide) had become fast friends. We were in the Tap Room (where the stage coach used to stop) and a train was coming by. Mr. Gibbs stopped the whole tour… opened the stage coach door and beckoned for me to come stand in front of the screen door. And from there I had a front row view of the train passing by. When it had passed, Mr. Gibbs continued the tour — gearing most of it directly to me.
Every year for years my mother and I would continue the tradition of touring The Fearing Tavern every Fourth of July and many times we had Mr. Gibbs again.
Ten years later, after I graduated from high school, I loved that tavern so much that I became one of the first docents the Wareham Historical Society hired to give tours. And I continued doing that for four summers… loving every minute of it.
So last night at the memorial for Mr. Gibbs who recently died (after a grand life — he was into his 90s and active right up until the end) I told the story of how me and Mr. Gibbs became such good friends. And my mother chimed in after I had told my story saying, every time she saw Thornton he would ask how’s the “little one” (me)?
Not two minutes after my Mom and I had finsihed our story…. what happened? The train went by! Don’t worry, Mr. Gibbs, the “little one” got the message. May you give grand tours of the great old home in the sky!