I’m thinking of an old friend and his family today. Denny Dawson is laying his mother to rest.
One of my favorite memories of Phyllis was seeing her cooking breakfast for everyone onboard the sternwheeler Hobby III at one of the sternwheel regattas. There were pans of biscuits, sausage, sausage gravy, bacon and whatever else was around. In the middle of it all was Phyllis with a smile on her face. She fed everyone around. It really didn’t matter who you were or what you were doing. She expected you to eat. The last time I saw Phyllis was about a year and a half ago. I had dropped in to see Denny for a few minutes. Phyllis convinced me to eat some beans and cornbread while I was there.
I’ve always wanted to live my life well. In my mind, that doesn’t mean money or excitement or big contributions to society. I will not be the person who cures cancer. It means being loved, and being remembered for your contributions, especially the little, everyday contributions. It means believing in something, and respecting those who disagree with you.
Yesterday I spent the better part of the day listening to two veterans describe their lives. Both men happened to be about my age. They talked about careers of service and spending time in war zones with the simplicity of someone who has been there. It’s not that either man wanted to go to war. It was simply that both men believed that is where they could best serve their country, their fellow soldiers, and most importantly their families and friends.
Often we get wrapped up in the minutiae of our lives and forget to live them. And I mean really live them. Unfortunately, sometimes it takes the passing of a loved one to remind us. I know this is a difficult time for the Dawson family right now. I will keep them in my prayers. But I also find some inspiration in these moments. It becomes a wake-up call to remember to live. Remember to live for others and use the talents given to me by God and not to squander them.
I’m headed to the visitation to pay my respects to Denny and maybe share a smile with him. I doubt he feels like laughing right now but I’ll bet there will be some smiles there, too. That’s what life is about, and how to honor, a life well-lived.