Breaking from this blog's long and storied irreverent traditions, today's entry is dedicated to my friend and neighbor, Cecil Barnett, who died this week.
Aside from simply being handed one of the coolest first names ever, Cecil excelled at life. His mind was sharp as a tack before suffering the massive stroke that sent him heavenward early Wednesday morning. Yep - Wednesday - just another day for most of us, a miniscule valley in the vast continuum of time. The day will deservedly be remembered by the world community as the day Haiti was crushed by a devastating earthquake, but Maxine Barnett will remember it as the last day she shared with her life-partner.
Of note: Maxine turns 80 in March, and once estimated our prevailing mid-summer coastal breeze as sustaining sufficient power to 'blow-the potato-salad-clean-off-a-plate'. She will miss Cecil. So will I.
Cecil shared his late-life eloquence with a loud and confident voice. Whether he was cheerfully describing the behavior of his annoying lap dog, Barney, or the annoying behavior of his most recent rash - Cecil was clear spoken and as loud as a bucket full of gravel. He spoke loud because he couldn't hear so well. He suffered his hearing loss on the beaches of Italy in WWII. It was there that he also lost most of the use of his legs. He spent a great deal of his life on crutches which eventually wrecked his shoulders. His "crutches strategy" may have been aimed at reducing the number of pitiful looks he received way-back-when, when having physical limitations was strikingly more isolating than today. I tend to believe that Cecil used crutches because of his drive to be productive, to be engaged, and not burden those around him. How difficult it must have been for him later in life to live through the irony of being wheelchair bound without full use of his shoulders, but if it was difficult, you'd never know it. I never heard the man complain... except perhaps about his rash.
Cecil has left a great impression on this world. Regardless of your political, social, or theological bent, please give Cecil and those like him a nod of thanks. Not for serving in the military or being a loving husband and father - all worthy efforts mind you - but for simply being dealt a damn dirty hand of cards and then laughing at the dealer while playing them like a royal flush.
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