A life well lived
One of the most unforgettable characters I ever met was John Lawrence Hendrickson.
He died last week at 89, full of decades of curiosity, adventure, accomplishment and joy. Some thought of him as a Renaissance man. He had been everywhere and done everything and, if not, he could probably lecture knowledgeably on the subject for 15 minutes or more. He would characteristically introduce that discourse with â€śTo make a long story shortâ€ť and then proceed to make the story longer.
What is equally significant about this extraordinary man is that he was to his wife, children, grandchildren and friends a big oleâ€™ lovable and loving teddy bear.
On the morning of his funeral, his sister-in-law, Grace Ellis, composed a poem for John on a yellow legal pad and delivered it at his funeral.
â€śA Poem for
What do you do when the doctor says,
â€śYou have a fatal diseaseâ€ť?
Do you let sadness drag you down?
No way! You stick to your routine,
maybe buy another classic car,
entertain the liarsâ€™ club
with tales of delivering newspapers and drilling through rocks.
And when a different physician
makes another grim announcement,
do you surrender then?
No way! You keep on going to work,
donate a clock to the town,
take the family out to eat at The Bristol.
And when the doctors agree
that youâ€™re nearing the end of the road,
do you hit â€śpauseâ€ť to put your affairs in order?
No way! You catch a ride to Chautauqua,
hang out with your high school friends, sleep on the porch.
And when you reach the finish line,
you draw your final breath,
knowing that youâ€™ve squeezed every drop of joy
from the life you were given.