Long-cherished friends of Anthony came to his book-release party today, turning The Bitter End coffeehouse into a cozy scene of warmth and love. Anthony busily signed copies of "Anthony's Prayers" at a front table while far-flung friends and neighbors from the West Fulton business district chatted and took pictures. His de facto extended family, Dick and Helen Ter Maat of Grand Rapids and the DeVree family of Jenison, beamed to see Anthony's dream finally fulfilled.
"He's a blessing," said Belva De Vree, whose late husband, Ed, befriended Anthony 40 years ago when he offered him a mint in church.
Also there were Belva's son Mike and daughter Sue, her daughters Esther, Jacki and Jodie, and grandson Alden, who was fascinated by all the clicking cameras.
When someone congratulated Anthony on the book's release, he said, "That's better than what we hear on the news. We need happiness."