Day 61: Bob Simpson

Above … a promo-trailer for Zombie Prom. Emma comes on at 00:50 and several times later.

(Note: Bob Simpson is the former Theatre Department chairman at Arkansas State University. He was a colleague and friend during my tenure there, and provided more than one break for my daughter, Emma, now a junior theatre major who played a leading role in the department’s presentation of Zombie Prom last night.)

Dear Bob:

This note is embarrassingly long overdue. Forgive my indefensible delay.

Bob and Molly Simpson

Bob and Molly Simpson

Your kindness came to mind in the drama theatre last night as Emma did what I’ve watched her do so many years now. From three years old and summer bible school presentations, she’s commanded attention from the stage. Her role in Zombie Prom last night was yet another thrill. Words will never adequately describe my heart when she’s on stage sharing her gift. Nothing I know is more satisfying.

You were there for Emma not once, but twice. Someone told me long ago you never forget the nice things people do for your kids. I understand that now.

Bob has always been an outdoors-kind-of-guy. It's another thing I like about him.

Bob has always been an outdoors-kind-of-guy. It’s another thing I like about him.

Emma grew up in community theatre, but as a sixth grader you slipped her role in a college production that broadened her horizons and opened her eyes to new things. It was such a kind and fortuitous gesture – a thrilling opportunity for a young girl who loves the stage. We may never truly know how much that boosted her confidence. So many years later when she went “off” to college in St. Louis and decided it was best to return closer to home, you maneuvered the red tape and made it all possible. You got a good deal for sure, but were there during a time when she needed lots of help. Thank you for supporting her dream. Thank you for helping my sweet girl.

Our friendship at Arkansas State was a special one – from our lunchtime runs to fundraising projects and other experiences. I didn’t even hold it against you when you outran me in your first half-marathon. I always liked that you were one of those guys grounded in reality – a bit rebellious toward the status quo – but I liked that, too.

Emma’s pursuing her passion these days. I often think back to all the ways it’s been made possible. You’re such a prominent part of that equation.

Let me say this again from the heart.

Thank you for helping my daughter.

Your friend,

Steve Watkins

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