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August 9, 2007

Fate: A Tribute to my Grandfather

by Dan

My grandfather passed away recently. It wasn’t a terrible surprise since he hadn’t been doing well for some time.

He lived across the country from me, so I didn’t get to see him much while growing up. However, I’d taken my family to see him twice in recent years and corresponded with him by email. He was a wonderful man and lived his life in kindness and service. His example still motivates me to be a better person.

A neighbor of his wrote the following poem about their experiences living next to him for many years. She very graciously granted permission for me to publish it here.

We bought our first home on a quiet little street,
where we met a man who was so kind and sweet.

He walked over and said Hello,
I am your neighbor and my name is Mr. Cecil Reese,
but I prefer Cec,
just so you know.

We shook his hand and said it is nice to meet you,
he said I saw you out here and wanted to come over and greet you.

We said our goodbyes and watched him
carefully use his cane and walk home,
But not knowing at that very moment,
how often we would visit and he’d never be alone.

Less than a week later we found ourselves at his front door,
Starting a friendship that would become greater than any we’d had before.

Everyday after he’d open the door before we had the chance to ring the bell, He always had so many stories he just couldn’t wait to tell.

Time went by and our visits went to at least twice a day,
He loved to make the girls laugh and watch them play.

One day he asked that we not call him Mr. Reese,
but he would love it if we called him Uncle Cec.

He told us all about his church and things we did not know,
For the longest time when he started, I said I had to go.

After some time I didn’t leave when he started talking about religion,
he said don’t believe the crazy stuff you hear about Mormons on the television.

He showed us many pictures
of his family and his life,
And always told us he wished we had had
the chance to meet his Maisy, his beautiful wife.

We watched him go from whipping around with just a cane,
to using a walker that drove him insane.

The first time Maddie ever saw his walker with his new tennis balls
she laughed and said Uncle Cec, that’s silly,
He smiled and said I know I’m getting old,
so what can I do, really?

Later that year he gave us a book with highlighted pages
that he thought we’d like to read,
We put it in a drawer,
since we didn’t see a need.

A few days later out of nowhere came this voice
that prompted me to open this book,
I did and told Dave
to hurry and look.

Inside the back of the book was a printed and signed letter from Uncle Cec,
telling us to read the book when the time was right,
Dave had read most of the book
by the end of the night.

Our very first Book Of Mormon came from such a wonderful, kind, powerful man,
Who in October couldn’t wait to see Dave be baptized and hold his hand.

Though I was happy for my husband I wasn’t ready to commit,
so I went on with the lessons and didn’t quit.

Uncle Cec said he always knew I wouldn’t be far behind
and was so joyous the day I told him I had changed my mind.

So in December it was set and Brittany and I became members as well,
Uncle Cec said he was so proud, but we could already tell.

From informal lunches with bologna and cheese,
To Outback dinners, he was so easy to please.

We talked of many things big and small,
and sometimes we didn’t need to say anything at all.

We have grown to love this man more than words can say,
and we’ll always feel honored to have known him, all the rest of our days.

He always said we kept him going even when the days were rough,
And coming back from vacation and seeing him in the hospital was very tough.

We visited him there daily just as if he were home,
the girls sang him songs and he smiled and even there he knew he wasn’t alone.

In less than two years time this man has brought us so much joy and love,
We know he’s smiling down and watching from above.

So fate brought us here to our home on Stockton Road,
across from the most amazing man that we have ever known.

© 2007 Rebecca Anderson. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

I wish I could have lived closer to this wonderful man.

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