"She greeted strangers, and listened for their names."
Somehow we believe Dr. Bob's beloved Anne would prefer this simple tribute beyond all others. It was written by one who knew her well. It came from the bottom of a grateful heart which sensed that extravagant language and trumpeting phrases would serve only to obscure a life that had deep meaning.
It is doubtful if now, only one year after her passing, that, the true significance of Anne Smith's life can be realized. Certainly it cannot yet be written, for the warmth of her love, and charm of her personality and the strength of her humility are still upon those of us who knew her.
For Anne Smith was far more than a gracious lady. She was one of four people, chosen by a Higher Destiny, to perform a service to mankind. How great this contribution is, only time and an intelligence beyo nd man's can determine. With Dr. Bob, Lois and Bill, Anne Smith stepped into history, not as a heroine but as one willing to accept God's will and ready to do what needed to be done.
Her kitchen was the battleground and, while Anne poured the black coffee, a battle was fought there which has led to your salvation and mine. It was she, perhaps, who first understood the miracle of what passed between Bill and Dr. Bob. And, in the years to follow, it was she who knew with divine certainty that what had happened in her home would happen in other homes again, again, and yet again. For Anne, understood the simplicity of faith. Perhaps that's why God chose her for us. Perhaps that's why Anne never once thought of herself as a 'woman of destiny' but went quietly about her job. Perhaps that's why, when she said to a grief-torn wife, "Come in, my dear, you're with friends now - friends who understand" that fear and loneliness vanished. Perhaps that's why Anne alw ays sat in the rear of the meetings, so she could see the newcomers as they came, timid and doubtful...and make them welcome.
There's a plaque on the wall of Akron's St. Thomas hospital dedicated to Anne. It's a fine memorial. But there's a finer one lying alongside the typewriter as this is being written - letters to Dr. Bob from men and women who knew and loved her well. Each tries to put in words what is felt in many hearts. They fail - and that's the tribute beyond price. For real love, divine love, escapes even the poet's pen.
So, in the simplest way we know, and speaking for every AA everywhere, let's just say 'Thanks, Dr. Bob, for sharing her with us.' We know that she's in a Higher Group now, sitting well to the back, with an eye out for newcomers, greeting the strangers and listening for their names!
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