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A Man I Knew Growning Up

A Man I Knew Growning Up

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Published by Evie Purviance

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Published by: Evie Purviance on Jun 29, 2010
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09/28/2010

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A Man I Knew Growing Up
 I·ve lived in large cities all of my life except for the first 17 years. Those first years were spent growing up in a small, rural town in Southern Indiana; and when Isay small, I·m not kidding. The whole town was only about a mile square; but a milesquare filled with the kind of kids most adults I know only dreamed of growing upwith. It was the kind of little town where the kids could play hide and go seek allsummer long, way past dark, without any fear of being nabbed by a stranger. Youcould chase lightening bugs to your heart·s content. It seemed as though therewere thousands of them lighting up the big dark sky. I·ve learned as an adult; thelightening bugs I knew as a child are now called fireflies in the big city.Unfortunately, there are none to chase here, too many lights. I liked to keep mylightening bugs in a glass jar by my bed at night. It was like having your very own¶lightening bug· nightlight. I could never figure out why my lightening bugs alwaysdeparted for lightening bug heaven by morning. My sister said I needed toremember to punch enough holes in the top of the lid so they wouldn·t die.Somehow, as a child, I could never remember that.As I grow older, I think about all those great times in that little town. I go backto that area to visit occasionally. I really don·t know anyone who lives thereanymore; the little town where my hide and go seek and lightening bug memorieswere born. Even the big old ¶hide and go seek· tree we used for counting to 100;even it·s no longer there.But one of my best memories is of a man I knew growing up there. I·ve traveled allover the world after leaving that little town, but I·ve yet to meet anyone quite likehim. He was a one of a kind; the best kind of a man. As a child, it seemed like heknew everyone in the world, because he always acknowledged everyone he saw. Do you know how rare that is in a big city?This man had a very ¶colorful· language. A few of his colorful words would havegotten most kids· mouths washed out with that icky soap I would sometimes hearparents warn their kids about. I can·t say I ever personally experienced it, but Iwas very careful not to use any colorful language around my parents. Just thethought of it was enough for me.Back in the late 60·s, this man I knew while growing up in that little town had areally bad accident that nearly took his life. He was actually trying to help a
 
coworker when it happened. I heard a rumor, that while he was hospitalized, heinvited Jesus into his heart. It seemed his colorful words disappeared for a while.But not long after his accident, I went away to college myself and didn·t have theopportunity to see him as much as when I was growing up there.One of coolest things I remember about this man was how he would pick up ahitchhiker named Bogy. Bogy was kind of smelly and dirty, but he was always polite.Back then Bogy was what people referred to as a hobo. Now society calls them thehomeless. I had heard that this man I knew growing up had a ¶soft spot· for thehobo named Bogy. As a child, I wasn·t sure what a soft spot was, but I was prettysure it was something really good. I know now as an adult, that warm feeling I hadinside as a child, was the tugging of my own heart, my own soft spot for the hobonamed Bogy. Unfortunately, by the time I was big enough to have a driver·slicense, I never saw Bogy again on the streets. He had probably died and gone tohis mansion in 'Hobo Heaven' by then. Even today, I can close my eyes and seeBogy with his little nap sack slung over his shoulder. Isn·t it amazing how adultssure can make an impression on a child?In his earlier years, I remember this man not caring much about going to church.Actually, I don·t ever remember him referring to himself as a Christian. But asbest as I can remember, he acted more like the ones I learned about in SundaySchool than a lot of the ones who called themselves Christians. Like giving a hobonamed Bogy a long ride home, when this man was headed the opposite direction.After college I never went back to that little town to live, but I did visit often.Right before this man died, I had the opportunity to spend some time in thehospital with his family. When he went into cardiac arrest his wife put him on alife support machine. Her hope was that their children would arrive in time to sayone last goodbye. This man had always told his wife to never put him on one of¶those· machines. He said if she did, he would never speak to her again if hesurvived it. Thankfully, she knew him better than he knew himself. He lived for 7more days after the machine was removed. It was obvious to everyone; includinghim, that she had made the right decision.While this man was in the hospital at the end, family members took turns stayingthe night with him. Even I had the opportunity to take some turns. It was about3:00 am one morning that I witnessed the most incredible miracle. I will neverforget it as long as I live. I had stepped out of this man·s room for just a few
 
minutes to get something cold to drink. I was just coming back into his room whenI was stopped dead in my tracks by what I saw. Have you ever stepped into a roomand realized that you were in the middle of something very private? I was frozenin awe with what I saw. Even if I could have moved, I didn·t want to. Here was aman I had known all my life; who sometimes had the most ¶colorful· language,speaking with the sweetest voice of a little child. With his thin little arms heldhigh in the air, he was thanking someone over and over for what all He had done forhim in his life. It was the most awesome experience I·d ever had. I knew at thatvery moment that I was in the presence of God.I can·t tell you how blessed I felt to witness what I did. I had grown to really lovethis man during my life and was worried that he would go to hell when he died. Ishould have been more worried about myself. I grew up in church; but just likestanding in a garage doesn·t make you a car; growing up in church doesn·t make youa Christian. I had to find that out on my own years later.This man I knew growing up, along with his wife, raised 2 boys and 8 girls in thatlittle town of Troy, Indiana. The little town where my hide and go seekand lightening bug memories were born. Most folks in this little town called thisman Bill; I just called him Dad. My Dad was definitely a different kind of man; butI think he was the best kind of man. It took me many years to realize that I wouldprobably never meet anyone quite like him again. So far, unfortunately, I haven·t.I started writing this letter as sort of a love letter to a Dad from a daughter.While pouring my thoughts out into my computer, I started to realize how much ofan impact my Dad had on my life, and what an incredible legacy he left me. Hedidn·t leave me a lot of money; he left me something that no amount of money inthe world could buy.I·ve probably read that story called ¶The Dash· a dozen times since email startedarriving on my computer. I get it from someone at least once a year. The story isabout the years we live our lives between the beginning and ending dates on ourgravestone. It·s what you·ve done with the ¶dash· that will define how you·ll beremembered. This life will fly by quicker than we think. It·s the days and years inthe ¶Dash· that will go on to tell your story.I·m sure my Dad made a lot of mistakes in his life. I know I have. More than likely,he probably had one or two he might have wished he had handled differently.

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