Sunday, December 04, 2005

A Good Life Spared

This morning, I was very happy to see one of my friends, an 80-year-old man, at church, all dressed up in a suit, looking like his usual self. He and his wife were busy taking care of their customary duties.

Lloyd has always been an unusual person, seeming much younger than his years. He has remained slim, healthy, and spry and very much involved in the lives of his children, his community, and his church. Everyone thinks highly of him and his wife Betty; they are some of the most humble, kind people you could ever find.

He is an active professional who still works part-time, substituting for people in his profession when they take vacations or are absent from work--for long periods, sometimes. To do the fill-in work, he has to drive to other towns, usually within a hundred miles of our town. He has a very fancy motorcycle, a shiny, heavy black rig, which he likes to ride to work. Saves a lot on gasoline, Lloyd says—and besides that, he enjoys it. He has ridden a motorcycle for forty years. (He pronounces the last part like the “cycle” in “bicycle.”)

A few weeks ago, that almost ended when he was coming home on that black motorcycle after dark from a town about an hour away. He was in a hurry because of an important meeting at the church he wanted to go to, so he was driving about 75 miles per hour. An unsuspecting deer ran out in front of him. When the motorcycle hit the deer, Lloyd was thrown to the pavement. He suffered two broken bones and cuts in both hands, five broken ribs, bruised lungs, and a badly skinned knee. From the looks of his helmet, his head bounced on the pavement a number of times. He spent about a week in the hospital and at least a week at home in his recliner.

His family had planned, for some time, to surprise him with a big eightieth birthday party. Betty and Mary and Dede had already invited everyone who has ever worked for Lloyd, as well as many friends and relatives. They considered postponing the party. But they decided he could sit in a recliner at his party as well as he could sit in it at home—so they went ahead with it. I was one of probably at least 200 people who attended the party. It was a time made more poignant by his brush with death—a time when love and appreciation poured out in great measure for this precious man and his family.

Yes, he’ll probably get back on that motorcycle. "Oh, yeah, pretty soon," he said. But he said he has an eternal message to others now: Wear a helmet!!

1 comment:

Mary McGrew Cunningham said...

I love this! Thank you so much for sharing!! I plan at a later time when it isn't so late (or early in the morning) to read the rest of your writings.
Thank you again.
Mary (Lloyd's oldest daughter)

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