Monday, November 03, 2008

Two remembrances of note

As I've said, I am woefully behind on several things, one of which is posting things here. Let me take a moment to rectify a small part of that.

There are two recent remembrances I'd like to invite you to read. These are not about famous people, though they had the fame (good or bad, you can decide) to have as relatives those who could write eloquent prose about them and had the means to circulate it.

They are stories of lives well-lived, full lives, reminders to us all in these often-crazy times of why we're here for the brief flash that biology or deity (again, your choice) allows.

The first is from Steve Yelvington, who lost his father, Rube, last week. As Steve writes: He believed his role in this world was to bring out the best in others. He didn't believe in violence, because that was a failure to solve problems peaceably. He once told me that if you fire someone, you've failed as a manager. He never owned a gun. In the worst of times in East St. Louis he consented to carry only a carpenter's hammer under the driver's seat of his Rambler American.

The second is from Mike King, Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist. Mike is a semi-distant relative, married to my sister-in-law's sister. He and I had an occasion to have a drink a long time ago when he was in D.C. Then I got busy, so did he. As things happen, we lost touch.

Then came word that his wife, Anne, died this summer unexpectedly. In August -- it seems so long ago, yet it's only 2 1/2 months -- Mike wrote a moving tribute. It sat in my inbox, and then I got busy, and lately I have been trying to figure out how to share it. Rube Yelvington's death, sad as it is, allows me to do that gracefully.

Hers is the soul of a teacher whose former students write in her obituary guest book about how important she was in their lives; they write about how she instilled in them the joy of reading, the importance of writing a daily journal and the fun of celebrating a hard week’s work on Friday afternoons by singing and dancing to Tina Turner songs.

Read, learn, sing, dance, laugh, love, live. These are the lessons of Anne King.

Click. Read. Think. Remember. The stories of two people who lived full lives. There are many others that ought to be told. But Rube and Anne had the fortune, or misfortune, of living with writers. I'm glad they did.



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