Today I attended the funeral of one of my High School teachers. He was an honorable man, who led his life by example.
His wife died just a few months prior to him. She was my kindergarten teacher and the person who comforted me as a 5-year-old when my brother died.
These two will always hold a special place in my heart.
I had seen the husband in August; at 90 years old he still had a twinkle in his eye and drew the attention of everyone when he walked through the door.
Since moving back to God’s Country, I have attended several of these, funerals of those who helped mold me. Each time I have been moved by eulogies that describe Godly men and women who were pillars of a small mountain town.
Today, as I sat inside this Church that has changed little since the first time I saw it as a young boy, I was moved by those who surrounded me.
There was my fifth grade teacher who always greeted her students with a comforting smile, who today shared that same smile when we said hello.
My vocabulary teacher was there, I hated her class. I loved her, but hated the class, daily tests on vocabulary words designed to enhance SAT scores wasn’t a social butterflies idea of necessary or a good time.
My second mother was there. My mama’s best friend for more than 40 years, I love her in ways that I can’t even express.
There was the Chemistry teacher, a treasure among treasures.
The coaches who inspired so many of us with their quiet and dignified pride, they were there too.
As we gathered together to pay our respects to a man who had led a life of inspiration, I was struck by how many others in the same room had shaped the community we all call home.
Today, I sat in a room of inspired lives. Men and women who have served, sacrificed and molded a town for generations.
These men and women, teachers who had come together to say good-bye to one of their own.
I realized these inspired citizens probably never received the thanks they deserve and I hope in some way they know how appreciated they each are.
Today, I thought about how these people had shaped my life. Given me examples I can live by and a dignity that I try my best to follow.
I appreciate these people, these men and women of honor, these people who dedicated their lives to making our community the best we can possibly be.
Today, I sat in a room of inspired lives and I am better because of each one of them.