Monday, June 27, 2011

Respect

The town cemetary was not too far from my house in Pataskala, Ohio.  Many times, if I was out on what I call a "bike stroll" (a slow ride to nowhere in particular), I would ride the loop drive through the graveyard, then continue on.

It was a pretty old cemetary, and had been in use for well over 100 years, when I lived there in the late 80s/early 90s.  There were lots of old tombstones which told sad stories of dead infants and spouses lost in the prime of life.

But, the saddest story in the place was relatively new.  In the more recently used section of the cemetary was a grave only a few years old.  The young man interred there was an Eagle Scout, not yet out of his teens when he died.

I don't know what he died of.  The inscription on the stone, unlike a lot of the pioneer gravestones, did not outline the cause of death.  It doesn't really matter, I suppose.  Once you are gone, the cause of death is a moot point.

I always felt a palpable sense of loss when I passed that grave on my bike.  Anyone who has the fortitude and the desire to become an Eagle has my respect.  They tend to become leaders in the community, strong family men, seekers and doers.

I barely made it through a year of Cub Scouts, myself.

Still, even though I was far from as accomplished in the discipline as this late young fellow, I still found myself delivering the Scout Salute from my bike, as I went by.

I may not be as thrifty, brave, loyal or clean as I should be, but I am respectful of those who take such things to heart.  And, I feel some grief when they are gone.

x

2 comments:

As always, sorry about the word verification. It's a necessary evil, unfortunately.