All my life I’ve heard old timers say when speaking of death that they come in three’s and I know many of you have heard that also, I’ve never been clear on exactly what that means, does it mean three from a community or three from a region or just the basis for that folklore does it mean three people that you know? Hard to tell but I know that last week was funeral week for me.
It started with Rabb Hewes, they had a very nice service for Rabb out at the cowboy church north of Lake Ellsworth with all the appropriate honors, a whole line of volunteer fire departments with all their equipment, lights flashing, were there to honor Rabb who was the assistant fire chief at Paradise Valley. He was just a couple of years older than me so it was definitely not a timely passing and hard for a family to understand. I was proud of the fire fighters and how they honored him down to the Lawton firefighters in their dress blues that carried out the flag folding ceremony and then handed that flag to Doug Wright the chief of Paradise Valley so he could present it to the family. That was number one.
Number two was Jim Alvey of Cache, I always called him Mr. Alvey and Mr. Alvey was a well known person in the Cache area because for many years he owned and operated the lumber yard in Cache. He was a tall lanky soft spoken man, very well thought of and a hard worker which I always respect. Mr. Alvey was as smart about property and rehabilitation of houses as about anybody I’ve ever met. I have always dabbled in real estate on a much smaller scale but will never forget the valuable lessons Mr. Alvey taught me over a cup of coffee at the cafe. He was just a good soul. He probably helped more young people with little things like advice more that anybody even knows. I remember on particular conversation several years ago when he told me “always try to buy a 3 bedroom brick home that anybody can buy, stay away from the big houses and you won’t get hurt” I should’ve listened. Three or four years later I bought a big old house in Lawton and ended up loosing about $9,000 on the project. I’ve said to myself many times I should’ve listened to Mr. Alvey. How right he was. He lived until the ripe old age of 85 and I bet you I’m not the only one who has gone back over in my head the lessons Mr. Alvey tried to teach.
Number three was probably the one I knew the best number three was Troy Thorn. Troy was a character. I remember Troy when his kids showed cattle, even before my family and I moved into the Cache community. Troy was a good guy. He had called me a week or so prior to his passing like he often did just to check in and see how things were going, most of the time it was just to visit. I think Troy knew his days were numbered. I say that because I think he called a lot of his friends in his last days and I think sometimes people know that the end is near. Troy must have. I’m sure glad that I answered that phone. Troy spent a life as an educator, cared a lot about kids and was extremely proud of his own. One of the funniest memories I have of Troy was we’d be sitting around on the show box at a stock show and he would look over at David Doyle and say “Dave I’m hungry” all the while having his ample belly and he’d say ” don’t I look hungry?” Mr. D would laugh and say “Yeah Troy you look hungry, we’d better go eat.” We laid Troy to rest in Snyder at the cemetery on a hot sunny afternoon in Southwest Oklahoma surrounded by as many friends and his devoted family. I’ll always remember our visits and the occasional phone call and like many of my departed friends I’ll probably leave his number in my cell phone for a while and will think of Troy as I scroll through the “T’s” looking for a phone number. He was a good one and they broke the mold when God made Troy.
So I guess maybe they do come in three’s and I hope that we can take a break for a little while so we can digest the loss of these three salt of the earth Southwest Oklahoman’s. The kind of guys that you don’t read about too much in the paper, the kind that just live their life not realizing how many peoples lives they touch just good souls that help weave the fabric of this part of the state that we call home.
I guess next week we’ll talk about the results of last Tuesday’s election but for now I’m satisfied just to stop and take a minute to acknowledge three really solid lives.
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And here’s a little something to think about as you go down the road: When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say ” I used everything you gave me.”~Erma Bombeck.