9.23.2008

For the Living

"I'm not here to talk about Harold jr.....We know he is in a better place. I’m here to talk to Harold Sr. because funerals are for the family”-Pastor Grant, Rockdale Baptist Church

Pastor Grant looked, talked and walked like a man with one foot on top of his own grave. He told us who had gathered for young Harold’s funeral, that he and Harold’s mother were “mature.”..older than the senior choir at Rockdale Baptist. Pastor Grant never cracked a smile in his allotted two minutes of remarks, but he made all of us smile, bringing laughter through the tears shed for Harold Johnson jr.

Harold passed away nearly a week ago. Unexpectedly for friends and family and for me, as well. He was one of the people, I expected to be holding the door open for, when they crossed over, because I was so sure I would go first. I never expected him to beat me off this plane of existence, apparently killed by the same thing that is slowly killing me. His great big heart gave out during a bout with a cold.

We worked together, side by side, for seven years, sharing life, observations, politics, history, and tips on the stock market. We agreed on many things, disagreed on other things. We shared a love of history and books. Any book. Didn’t matter. We both were inveterate readers of everything. I never had to worry about my vocabulary around Harold, because his understanding and love of words was as great as mine. Harold was a stress free friend....even at work....we never talked about work...but we always talked....everyday....When something happened in the world, I couldn't wait to talk to him and Clarence, and Mike....

Until today, I’d never met his family, but I knew them through him. His brother Michael gave the eulogy and surprised me, because I already knew most of the anecdotes that Michael shared about Harold. I learned today just how much Harold had shared with me. About the only thing I learned new was Harold’s age...He never shared that....his one mark of vanity.

It was difficult to hear and to watch Michael talk from the podium. He struggled with his composure as he remembered his only brother...who was older... I couldn't have stood there...I'm fighting tears now while writing this......but Rev. Rousseau was right.....Michael and Harold could’ve been twins, they looked so much alike. ....Rev also said death may be unexpected for the living....but it is never unexpected in the greater scheme of life...and he was so right..

Harold was laid to rest in Walnut Hills Cemetery near my Aunt Peggie.....family forever....I now have two reasons to salute that grassy knoll on my way to where ever, as I continue to wander this plane...seeking...

R.I.P. my friend
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