There’s a place in Central Texas called The Tiny T Ranch. The woman who runs it is a writer named Spike Gillespie. For the past year, she’s shared the ranch with her companion, Bob Stader.
Gillespie and Stader met when Bob’s daughter Ellen asked on Facebook if there was a place in Central Texas where her father, a former farmer, could retire. This is their story of healing love.
“My wife passed away in Indiana,” Stader says. “And I just sat there for awhile and that’s not good.”
So he came to the Tiny T, where he found plenty to keep him busy.
“Bob works non-stop,” Gillespie says “and I tell him always, ‘you do not have to work to stay here. It’s not a requirement.'”
Gillespie says Stader has done more for her than chores around the ranch.
” He arrived during an especially tumultuous time in my life,” she says “and our morning ritual for a long time was me coming in a crying. Because I went through a terrible, terrible breakup, and I just felt like I was dying.”
“You showed up just at the right time,” she says to Stader.
Gillespie says Stader nursed her back to health, even though he continued to grieve for his wife.
“It doesn’t matter if I show up at the table crying, or laughing, or grumpy or whatever,” she says. “It’s just like ‘good morning. I love you. I’m so glad we’re here.'”
A month or so after he arrived, Stader asked Gillespie a question.
“He said ‘would it be OK if I died here.’ And I thought that was the most beautiful thing anybody has ever said to me,” Gillespie says. “And so he’s here until death do we part.”
“I love Spike and I love Ellen,” Stader says about his companion and his daughter. “They’re just perfect for me.”
Bob Stader died Sunday morning at the age of 89. Our hearts go out to his daughter Ellen Stader and his good friend Spike Gillespie.
Written by Shelly Brisbin.