A photo of James Davis standing behind a podium labeled "Elon" with Michael Stoops next to him.
credit: James Davis

I can recall every single time I traveled to different colleges, universities and organizations with Mike. It seemed like everywhere we went, Mike was in a hurry to get back to the hotel to work on the next project.

One time, on our way to Villanova University, we stopped at a fast food restaurant to get lunch. The line of cars was long. Mike became very impatient and tried to back up and get out of the drive-thru. He hit the car behind us in the process. But we just laughed because being stuck there was the only way to slow Mike down.

I always would tell Mike, “If we go somewhere with a nearby tourist attraction or memorial we should go and see it. It’s called a working vacation.”

When we went to a silent auction at Erie Community College in New York, we were so close to Niagara Falls that I was able to convince him to go the next morning on our way back. Even though it was about 20 miles north of our route, eventually he caved. We took pictures and he told me he was glad I had talked him into coming.

A strong work ethic drives some people. I understood where Mike was coming from, because I too have that strong ethic. But sometimes I have to stop and smell the roses along the way, and I wanted Mike to feel that necessity too.

There were many other places we saw together, such as Hershey Park, the Flight 93 Memorial and Paul Revere’s home. Once I got him indoctrinated to the idea, Mike learned to love stopping along the way to “smell the roses.”

I am going to miss him a lot, but I will always have these memories to smile at.