Sunday, June 25, 2006


You know you're getting older when the children of your friends call and ask you to say a few words at dad's memorial service. I got a call Saturday night. I'd known he died suddenly Thusday afternoon when another one of my "scouts" called.

I was asked to say something that would reflect what I knew about him and give a bit of the overtone that he was "outside" the church setting that I'd have to speak in.

So I sat down and wrote. Who knows what I'll end up saying.

There are things I will never forget about C-. Hey, after all, I slept with the man on many occasions.

We shared a tent on Boy Scout camping trips.

He was a good tent mate. When he had to get up in the middle of the night he did it with great care trying to not wake me.

I also appreciated sleeping with someone who never complained about my snoring.

For Boy Scouts C- was more than a task master he was also a marvelous teacher.

For adult scout leaders he was more than just another adult he was a friend and a confidant.

There was a side to C- that many of you might not know.

On many camping trips C- took his comfortable chair and late at night after scouts and adults were going to sleep he sat in this chair reading a book.

It might be a freezing cold night but he sat in that chair and read at least a few pages. I can’t remember him reading what I’d call “lite literature”. C- read books that taught him new facts and ideas about the world.

C- wasn’t satisfied with the knowledge he had learned; he always wanted to learn more. He always had a fascinating reading list.

One night over a fire of embers, C- and I shared a few facets our previous lifestyles- before we settled down and became husbands, fathers, and scout leaders.

C-’s early life might have been a little more, I’ll use the term “robust” than my life but there were intersections that made us wonder why we hadn’t met much sooner.

C- mentioned knowing someone I’d admired for years- Gary Snyder, a graduate of Reed College, the winner of a Pulitzer Prize, a writer and an Oriental scholar. He knew Gary. We talked about Reed College and Gary.

If you ever get a chance take a look at a picture of Gary; he could be C-s lost twin brother right down to their beards. They both shared the same all knowing smile and mirthful eyes. It is the look of a satisfied man who knows the joys of life.

I think C- always wanted to teach everyone what he knew so that we didn’t have to take as long to learn it.

I remember seeing that look on C’s face as a new scout cooked a perfectly wretched Sunday morning breakfast over a smoking open fire after a cold rainy night. C- quietly sipped from his stainless steel cup and watched that scout and the other scouts struggle to cook, eat and clean up. C’s look spoke volumes: “You are learning something and that is the purpose of life. Good for you.”

There is an enjoinder I learned that closes with these words:

“Life and death are of supreme importance,

Time swiftly passes by and opportunity is lost,

Take heed do not squander your life.”

C may never have heard these exact words but I think he knew about understood these ideas. I do not believe he squandered a moment of his life.

I think C would have a few words to say if he ever caught one of us squandering a moment of our lives and he probably wouldn’t be hesitant to make sure we understood.

If C was sitting out there right now listening to me he would be embarrassed beyond words and giving me a look that says “Be quiet.” Well, he'd probably use a little more emphatic words.

You can’t change the subject this time C.

C, you were a great example of a warm, caring, generous human being. We’re all much better for your life.

We all are here, at this moment, to celebrate your life. Thank you for sharing your life with us.

I know that the five members of my family appreciate you.