My aunt said to me: “Can you imagine living until you are 88 years old and never uttering a dirty word? Never laughing at or repeating a dirty joke? Never saying one unkind word about anyone, ever?”
It makes me, I told her, give pause and think about the things I have said. And the things I have laughed at. A quick inventory of my general existence tells me I haven’t been as good. And my aunt said as I thought this: “he was just a good good man”. I have a bad habit of trying to find new words or new combinations of words when the most simplest of words say it best.
He was a good, good man.
He is the picture of personal grace.
She was telling me about her father, my grandfather.
He was calm. He knew everything would be all right. I remember the calmness of their home. The quiet feeling you maybe don’t understand as a child. But as an adult I now remember walking in to their home as a child, Grandmother to the left as we walked in the sliding glass door from the back porch. She would be sitting on her little couch with her feet up on the table in front of her. And my recall is that she was always working on something. A letter. Something crafty. Grandfather would be sitting in his leather (?) chair, facing the doors as you walk in. The image of him reading a newspaper is very strong in my memory. It was peaceful. Quiet. Until we got there. But I look back now and don’t recall feeling angst or chaos.
There must be something very special about you when more than 110 years after your birth, and more than twenty years after your death you are remembered as loving, faithful, and good.
And the memory of you makes someone want to be better. Live better. Emulate your goodness.
I won’t get 88 years of goodness in because I have to start today trying to be that good.
But I can work on that for the rest of my years.