One Hundred Fourteen.
Thursday, 2009.12.03, 1:47 AM CST.
Current Mood: A little on the
tired side. Current Scent: None.
this week, I was privileged to go to the memorial service for an old
family friend of mine named Chuck. The service was very long and
very Catholic, but I felt happy to be able to make it.
was a Navyman - a World War II veteran who was actually at Pearl Harbour
during the war. He'd been a friend of my parents' since long before
I was born, and had known me for my entire life. At the time of
his passing, he was 89 years old.
obviously knew Chuck during my earliest years, and even as a toddler,
I picked up on some of his traits - especially his methods of speaking
and laughing. Chuck had an extremely distinctive, low-pitched,
friendly voice, that came out with an occasional stutter, especially
when he was really excited about the subject he was discussing.
When he laughed, it just boomed out of him. There was no faking
that type of laughter for him - you could tell in the tone of the laugh
how genuine it was.
was one of the few friends my dad had who really seemed to enjoy interacting
with me. He would ask me questions and seemed very happy to communicate
with me; he didn't just see me as an accessory to the surroundings,
he saw me as a little person. He entertained me, he made me laugh,
and he got a kick out of it.
back when I was 4 or maybe 5 years old, Chuck played the part of Santa
in a nearby rural Christmas carnival/festival thing. I climbed
up in his lap and we discussed what I wanted for Christmas (I don't
remember what that was), and he listened and he laughed. He laughed
that big, booming laugh that I loved hearing so much.
recognized "Santa's" laugh, put it together with his voice...
and immediately told him, with the honesty of someone my age, "You're
not Santa! You're Chuckie!" Chuck kept up the front
and tried to avoid the fact that he'd been found out, but it was no
use. I knew who he was and there was no way of hiding it any further
earnestly don't remember what happened between that point and the subsequent
discussion I had with my parents about Santa needing "helpers"
around the world, and how, yes, Chuckie was one of Santa's "helpers."
time went on, Chuck continued to be one of my favourites among dad's
"old friends." My parents and he kept in touch often,
and we kept track of his many medical issues; for some reason, I specifically
remember him getting his hips replaced. In 1987, I even got to
go to his wedding to his second wife, whom he married over thirty
years after losing his first wife to illness.
last time I saw Chuck was at my mother's funeral in August of 2007.
By this point, he was wheelchair-bound, and his health declined significantly
shortly afterward. It is my understanding that during the last
couple of years, on his "good" days, he still made every attempt
to be as joyous and fun-loving as he did in earlier times.
died on Thanksgiving. Here's hoping that he was accepted with
open arms into the gates of Heaven, and that God blesses his family
with as much peace and understanding as possible during what will prove,
I'm sure, to be a very somber holiday season for them.
Chuckie. God bless you.