No, this is not a message from your insurance agent. It is a message received this weekend by your news anchor when least expected. It is a message to be shared.
- You walk up to someone, shake their hand or wave as you hustle by. You see them often and they are a fixture. It could be a friend, a coworker, a buddy, a son, a grandchild, or any person we come into contact with. We race on by and sometimes pass on the greeting. We race about for there is always tomorrow.
This weekend, for this writer, there was to be no tomorrow for a close friend. He was an elderly pastor living in a small town with a big heart. He was a quiet man. His voice was raspy like George “Gabby” Hayes. He even resembled Gabby, “a little bit.”
I often reminded him of Gabby and the similarity. In fact, on Friday night last, I said “George Hayes,” not Gabby Hayes, and he told me that he never new Gabby’s real name was George. For you young “whippersnappers,” Gabby starred with a very young John Wayne back in the ’30’s and 40’s. He also served as the sidekick of Hopalong Cassidy, Roy Rogers, and Gene Autry at Republic and Paramount Pictures. They were my heroes at the nine-cent Saturday double-feature matinee.
I did not know that our bit of evening bantering was to be our final goodbye. We had fun and laughed at ourselves, as friends do.
Reverend A. G. Parker also had a signature statement that he was well known by. After each prayer that opened or closed a meeting, he would say with a drawl, “I love you all – just a little.” He said it thousands of times at Veterans of Foreign Wars posts throughout the states of North and South Carolina, at official events and meetings, and at monthly veterans memorial services at the National Cemetery in Salisbury, North Carolina.
No one expected him to be called home while he was with us. But, as we all arose for a day of meetings, he just couldn’t get going and died of heart failure. We gathered for our formal session meeting and saw an empty chair.
Tempus fugit, Memento Mori
We all need to remind ourselves that none of us, nor anyone in our realm of family and friends, know when Our Lord will call us home.
So, here is my challenge to you, Brother Knights. Take time, slow down, and maybe even smell the sweet morning air. Compliment a co-worker, child, or even “Fido.” Ask questions, share, care, reward, give, help, hold a hand, and say a kind word.
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Yolanda adds, “I always looked forward to seeing him and his wife, Frances, at Denny's. We saw them and many others from our meeting having their morning breakfast before they hit the interstates and returned home. He will always be in our heart.”