I want to share with you the last private conversation
I had with Arnold. He stopped by Katherine & Charlie's and subsequently
popped over to visit Joel and myself.
I knew from Charlie and Katherine that he had a new computer
since the last time I saw him and some of the things that were going on
in his life. Any of you who know us know that computers were generally
the topic of conversation. On many other occasions we discussed each other's
computers, operating systems and recent peripheral acquisitions.
But this time our conversation was around his girls,
Alana, Allison and Amanda. He share a number of things that were going
on in each of their lives and described some of each of their special qualities…the
common thread being that each was tender-hearted, gentle, sweet and loving.
If you knew Arnold, you knew that his values were well
set…that white was white and black was black; right was right; and wrong
was wrong…there were no gray areas. He had a reverence of God and Country
and felt a strict disciplinarian adherence to both was needed.
But in this conversation, he said that he was really
proud of his girls and the way they were turning out as persons. He shared
that he felt good about them and felt the he was becoming what he thought
was a good father. But what touched my heart the most (because I know it
was hard from him to admit) was that he acknowledged that because of the
influence of his wife, Patty; his father-in-law, Charlie; and his family
he felt he was learning how to be a temperate father who cared about his
children and what kind of people they would become rather than being the
kind of father who demanded perfection and obedience.
I told him something then, and I want to proclaim it
to you as well. Given all the negative and positive situations that shaped
Arnold as a human being…Arnold, I am very proud of the father you have
become…it shows in the sweet and gentle faces of your beautiful girls.
To his girls I want to say, look around you and you will
see the faces of all those whose lives he touched: those to whom he rarely
refused help, those forgotten or cast aside he befriended, and those who
loved and respected him. Your dad was a very special person.
Arnold, I take comfort in the thought that at our heavenly
Thanksgiving table all there…who are missed and loved…at first will bewail
why you are there so soon, then greet you with open arms and all the love
they held for you when you and they were all with us. I love you Arnold
and I will miss just knowing you are here.
Your cousin, Linda