Saturday, a whole bunch of folks said our good-byes to an unforgettable friend. I want you to know about him. I realize that I cannot blog about every person who passes away, but some folks are big enough characters to more than warrant a post. Charlie King was one of those. There are a million and two interesting things I could tell you about my friend (and that's not even counting the ones I can't actually write about on the blog), and I've only known him for 12 of his almost 97 years. I can honestly say that Charlie did more living and thinking and celebrating and wondering in the short time I knew him than most of us can squeeze into a lifetime!
I'll attach some links for you to read more about this intriguing human being, but I'd like to dedicate this list to a few of the reasons that Charlie King touched me. Those of us who lived alongside of him have a hole in our hearts. Those of you who weren't lucky enough to love and be loved by him need to go find someone like him! They don't come any cooler, at any age, and my life will be better for having known him.
Thank you, Charlie, for knowing us all in just the way we needed to be known. Thank you for your insight, your smarts, the connections you made for us all, and for the example of living a life so completely. And, thank you for the moments we all had with you, for your way with words, your dedication to everyone and everything you loved, your spot-on humor and your unforgettable gift of friendship.
I have never known a person who is more successful at appreciating and preserving the past, living in the present and looking forward to the future. I know many who are wonderful historians - they help us remember important moments and learn from them. They know the stories that we need to hear, again and again. I know folks who are amazing examples of living in the here and now - they help us notice the perfect present and notice what's happening today, where we're living. And, I know people who spend much of their time preparing for tomorrow - they are looking ahead and planning on behalf of us all. I cannot imagine, though, that I've ever met a person who did a better job of all three than Mr. Charlie. I wasn't even sure it could be done so well by one individual. Charlie did it and he was an example for all of us.
So, here are a mere few of the reasons I'll always remember Charlie King, why I'm so thankful my children knew and loved him, and why I want you to know about him:
- He joined facebook at age 95.
- He could tell a story about any - thing, person, place or event. Period. And they were always entertaining!
- He knew everyone - really knew us. He knew what each of us loved, what we did in our spare time, what we wished for and how all of us were connected.
- He was dedicated to his country and to his world.
- He NEVER stopped questioning and wondering and asking 'Why?'
- Everything and everyone mattered to Charlie. If your life path crossed his, he made it his business to KNOW you. It didn't matter your age, your past, your color, your origin - what mattered was the connection he could make with you. And, he could make a connection with anyone, anywhere.
- I never saw him at a loss for words, and yet I never heard him say anything that wasn't meaningful.
- He was a walking history book AND spent much of his time working to make this world a better place for those who would live long after his death.
- He didn't just talk - he listened. He wanted to know about us all, about what we were involved with and what made us tick.
- He was as at home in the wilderness he worked to sustain as in front of computer equipment that scared folks a fourth his age.
- When our church youth group spent an evening at the homeless shelter last fall - cooking, playing, and learning - Charlie was there, too.
- He lived, fully and wonderfully.
Charlie at the homeless shelter in September.
Covington, Ga and the rest of the world will be a different place because you were here.
And, somehow, I imagine you'll love having little ones tromping around where we laid your ashes. And that seems just perfect. Thank you, Charles Chester King, for all that you taught us.