Well, first of all let me apologize for not having updated in awhile but I suppose I have a pretty good excuse. You see I was just finishing up one of my Framingham graduate classes and preparing to write one of my funniest postings yet when I received the email that we all dread, that one of our family members has passed away. My sister caught me on g-chat and informed me that my grandfather had died, and yes it was sudden and it was unexpected.
So, after a day of deliberation and getting the go ahead from bosses, professors and wives (didn't know I was a polygamist did ya?) I decided to head home and be with the family for a time of mourning the loss of a special man and celebrating his life.
Some of the highlights as I remember them are that he was a Korean War veteran, a Richmond City Fireman, and a talented carpenter. He lived to fish and he loved being either on or at the very least near the water and in his final years had a place on the Rappahanok river which he built himself.
He left behind a wife, 5 kids (one of whom is my mom), 12 grandkids (one of whom is me) and 2 great grandkids all of whom loved and respected him.
But last and some would argue most importantly he was an avid golfer. In fact it was engaged in this sport where he met his end. The story goes that he was preparing to tee off on the 17th hole when he decided he needed another club so he returned to the cart. But as he approached the golf cart he fell to the ground without a sound and died of a massive heart attack. The doctor said he was probably dead before he hit the ground. He didn't have a history of heart problems, he just dropped dead, just as he always said he wanted to go and just as his father had gone out before him.
My brother told me his last words where "I need more club" and I have to agree with his assessment that that's just pretty damn cool.
Now I know I'll never be able to play another 17th hole without remembering my grandfather and my brother and cousin said they were going to start a tradition of playing that course every October 23rd at stopping at the 17th hole.
The Bible talks about death as being an un-natural thing, something that God had not originally planned for us and if we look deep into our being I believe we all have that feeling that death is just somehow not right and we all fight it but it is our ultimate destiny. I just hope that I can go like my grandfather, doing something I love and gone in an instant. No hospitals and tubes and shots and wasting away.
And to beat all his golf buddies who he was playing with told us that he was even winning and looking forward to enjoying a free meal on them as his reward. So here I'll raise my glass and say "Good game Paw-Paw, even though it will forever be left unfinished at the 17th hole."
In Loving Memory of Richard "Dicky" Curtis (1932-2007)