August 28, 2006

Meeting for Worship for Memorial

Last night, my partner and I attended a memorial for the brother of a Quaker friend of ours. He himself wasn't Quaker, but when their father died earlier this year, apparently John said something to Jane about the sort of memorial service he didn't want to have. He apparently also said something about wanting to have a Quaker memorial when it was his time.

It's just that Jane didn't expect that "his time" and her need to use that information would come so soon.

John was 43 and was found dead in his apartment about 10 days ago. There's no news yet as to what had happened.

On First Day evening, there were many unfamiliar faces at the memorial, which meant that there were stories about John that Jane and the family probably never had heard:

He helped out at the front desk, which is a job no one really likes to do. But any time I needed someone there, he'd volunteer. And he was great at it.

I was a neighbor of John's. He knew my granddaughter was getting into tough times and every three or four months, he would just call me up and ask me how things were going. I'll miss him.

One time, I had forgotten to put in my schedule that a dozen Girl Scouts were coming at the end of the day and I hadn't planned any activities for them at all. They were due there in half an hour! I asked John if there was any way he could work with them and come up with something to do. He squinted his eyes, put his fingers end-to-end and drummed them together mischievously. He jumped in with two feet no matter what it was, and the Girl Scouts had a great time. That was John.

John had a quick wit and a wicked sense of humor. He often claimed he was a single father, especially when he took Jane's kids out for fun. One night, John and I were coming back from downtown in my truck and a cab rudely cut in front of us. John called the cab company from the car and reamed out the dispatcher. "Your cab driver nearly creamed us! We have this new BMW and we're driving along and my friend had to hit the brakes so hard that my kid in the back dropped her sippy cup!"

At the end of the night, with so many tears shed and good laughs had, I overheard Jane say to someone, "I'm so glad John and I had that talk. I would have never heard these stories otherwise."


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