There are other labels besides stroke survivor, storyteller, collector, hunter and snowplower we could apply to Don that helps define who he was as a man: brother, uncle, neighbor, co-worker, friend, boss, and landlord to name a few. He was also loyal to his friends, honest to a fault, and he was especially kind to old ladies which might explain why he finally married Jean when she was nearly old enough to collect Social Security.
Don was also courageous for the way he faced the challenges brought on by the stroke. His special shorthand story for all he’d gone through was to hold up two fingers and say the word “two!” This was Jean’s queue to explain that two neurologists had told the family he’d be a vegetable for the rest of his life. Most people, upon hearing this, would respond the same way: “You sure fooled them!” And it was true. To friends and family who spent time with Don after the stroke, it was clear that despite his disabilities he was still the same, intelligent and caring person he’d always been.
a man must be one.
That all men are created equal
and that everyone has within himself
the power to make this a better world.
That God put the firewood there
but that every man
must gather and light it himself.
physically, mentally, and morally
to fight when necessary
for that which is right.
That a man should make the most
of what equipment he has.
That “This government,
of the people, by the people
and for the people”
shall live always.
That men should live by
the rule of what is best
for the greatest number.
That sooner or later...
we must settle with the world
and make payment for what we have taken.
That all things change but truth,
Goodbye to Don, my own special Ke-mo-sah-bee.