1931 - 2005
Travelers to Scotland's Highlands lost a good friend this week. Arthur Smith, our dear friend in Glencoe, passed away shortly after his return from Edmonds where he celebrated our tour reunion with us. For several years, Arthur — who entertains our groups in his home — flew to Seattle to cheer us with his wonderful Scottish wit and charm.
Sine (pronounced Sheena) McKnight, his partner, called from Glencoe to tell us how much he loved his visit here and how appreciated he felt. She said that it was a marvelous thing that Arthur could visit us one last time, and that his eyes were bright and filled with joy on his return.
When Arthur was young, he had been severely injured in Korea and lost a lung. He was the only one to survive a tank explosion and spent the rest of his life trying to live in a way that would honor those who died in that attack. Arthur's single lung had long been a health problem for him though he never complained and never let it get him down.
Sine wanted to be sure we thanked all our staff and travelers for what we've done to make Arthur feel valued well into his senior years. She said ETBD made a considerable difference in the quality of his life. That may be so, but Arthur — with his contagious love of life and inspirational way of sharing his corner of our world — made us all richer. Like everyone in his little village of Glencoe, we will miss Arthur and we will certainly never forget the joy he brought us.
After Arthur shared some thoughts on the Highlands with me in a radio interview during his visit, I gave him a hug and said I hoped to see him again soon. In his wonderfully Scottish way he said, pointing skyward, "Aye, either here or up there." If anyone is in heaven, you can bet our friend Arthur is up there, with a wee dram, a twinkle in his eye, a fun story, and plenty of time to share. Thanks for everything, and God bless you, Arthur.
- Rick Steves