A few days ago Hubby and I were privileged to attend the memorial service of a gentleman who'd finally succumbed to his brave 12-year battle with cancer.
I say "privileged" in that our presence seemed incongruous with other participants, whose wealth and stature were obvious. Accolades came from as far away as the U.S. Supreme Court. Still, we felt certain R. would approve.
What began years ago as a routine job for Hubby (the handyman), evolved into a precious alliance between the two men. While Hubby was careful never to over-step the bounds of familiarity, R would simply "poo-poo" that notion. Only last year, for instance: R phoned to see if Hubby was available for a few days work ... only to discover that "work" involved his participation in a hunting trip for classic toy train parts! (Daughter later exclaimed, "He's paying you to go play with trains?!) Then, when Hubby was undergoing chemo therapy ~ and considering quitting the whole process ~ R told him in no uncertain terms, "I know where you live and I'm coming over to kick your a**!"
Don't get me wrong. I've no prejudice against the Upper Class; nor is there a chip on my shoulder. (I hope!!!) No, I just recognized that we have little common ground -- and remained mute. Had I given voice to my recollections, however, I'd have simply said, "Thank you."
...Thank you for making me feel that my learning curve rose dramatically each time we met (without your ever being condescending).
...Thank you for the day you just tossed us the keys to your brand new car, inviting me to take her for a spin. When I demurred, you took the wheel and gave us a tour of your mountainside 'hood', regaling us with antidotes of each grand home's history and its occupants.
...Thank you for being our cheering section when Hubby's cancer threatened and we were frightened.
...Thank you for taking a real interest in our lives, never once setting off my "insincerity detector."
Doesn't everyone contemplate his or her own memorial at one time or another? I'm pretty positive there'll be no Ivy League Chancellor telling tales at my service. But I sure hope that I live my life in such a way that someone ~ perhaps someone I don't know very well ~ feels moved to offer a silent "thank you."