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Don’t Forget Me When I’m Gone

November 15, 2019

You’ve probably never heard of Dick King. Oh, you might have if you live in my neighborhood in Pleasant Grove, Utah. But, outside of this little corner of Utah County, you’ve probably never heard his name.

You’ve probably heard of Don King, the flamboyant boxing promoter. He was involved with everyone from Muhammad Ali to Mike Tyson. You’ve no doubt heard of Stevens King. One a world famous horror writer author of such classics as The Shining and Children of the Corn, and the Republican Representative to Congress from New York.

But, Dick King had no such fame.

It’s unusual for anyone to go by the first name Dick any more. It’s typically short for Richard. My brother is named Richard and would never dream of using the name Dick. My birth father, who is more of Dick King’s generation was also a Richard and he is known as Dick.

I think it was probably disgraced president Richard Nixon that soured us on the name Dick. He was, at times known as Dick Nixon, or after the Watergate scandal broke, he was known as Tricky Dick.

I’ve known Dick King for about eight years. He was old when we moved into the neighborhood. But, a wonderful man. He had a great love of music. Every year our church choir would stop rehersals after the Easter concert, take the summer off and then start up again in the Fall. During those off months, Dick would organize a men’s choir. He would pick the music and conduct. I sand with the men’s choir a couple of years. We had multiple four and six part harmonies. I once sang second tenor. And I had a different line than the other second tenor.

Dick’s mind started to go the last few years. In fact, during the last year I sang with them, he constantly asked me what part I was singing. I’d patiently explain that I was singing second tenor.

Oh good. We need a second tenor. Great.

And ten minutes later we’d have the same conversation.

Dick died last week. His funeral is tomorrow in the local chapel where he’s attended church for as long as I’ve known him.

Funerals are times for reflection. Our church congregation is using social media to try to make sure we have a substantial turnout for Dick and his dear widow. Apparently they had a single child. And their son has a few children.

I remember an old joke about a funeral.

Three guys were talking about what they wanted people to say at their funerals.

The first guy said, “I want them to say I was a good husband.”

The second guy said, “I want them to say I was a good father.”

The third guys said, “I want them to say, ‘Hey look, he’s moving.'”

In actuality, we won’t care what is said at our funeral. We’ll be dead. But, that doesn’t change the desire to leave something behind us. To leave a legacy. To leave the world just a little better than we found it.

During my father’s funeral, my mother worried that there would “only be 28 people” who attended. I spoke at my father’s funeral and started my remarked with, “Yes Mom, there are more than 28 people here.”

I don’t know how many will show up to pay their respects to Dick. I’ve been fighting a cold this week, but I’ll be there, to remember Dick, support his widow, but also to let my presence be a reminder that he left the world a little bit better than he found it.

Don’t wait until their funerals to tell your loved ones how much they mean to you.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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(c) 2019 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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