Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Lee and I

Lee and I meet in the kitchen each morning at about 5:30 for our morning coffee and to discuss the way of our world, as it is that day. This routine just recently restarted from days gone by, over 17 years ago.

Lee is a friend I met at a 12-Step meeting way back in the late ‘90s. I had a few years clean and sober; he was trying to get a few days. We have built a friendship since those days, which is very special and important to me.

Lee has done some amazing things in his life. He is the only person I have ever met who actually ran away from home and joined the circus. At 14 he and a friend dropped out of school and were headed to Kemah, Texas, to work on the oyster boats. Along the way they passed a circus. For the next year they worked as setup and tear down hands for one of the big Shriner Circuses of that time. He traveled the country that year, and his stories and photos are wonderful.

When Lee got back from his jaunt with the circus, he wasn’t home long before he signed up for his next adventure as a merchant marine. Lee, at the tender age of 16, was off on his first ship and toured India and Japan, including Hiroshima. That was in the mid ‘60s when Hiroshima was a strange and rare place to visit. What a trip.

I can tell countless stories, Lee stories, but I won’t here. Just suffice it to say he is the most energetic and adventurous person I have ever met.

Since I have known Lee, his life has been centered around his daughters. He had custody of them both and his biggest joys, tears and wishes have been centered around them. Now both are young women with kids. When he gets hugs and kisses from his granddaughters, he absolutely lights up. A single dad raising girls is one of the most difficult things I could imagine. So much to teach them and lots of girls things that frankly I don’t think most men can even talk about aloud.
So as we sit and drink coffee, my workout partners at the gym go on without me. They don’t wait, and I am not rushing off. I love this time of day, and to spend it talking with Lee makes it a great day – no matter what happens after that.

As I write this I am planning a meeting with the CPA and some doctors. We also have to work in a visit to the hospital and talk with Hospice. Both daughters, their kids and Lee’s sister are at our home, and we need to get back to the grocery store sometime today, too. On most days this stuff would be just another day, but right now nothing is trivial or without cause. Planning and making sure things are taken care of and at the same time keeping the wheels on the family cart is tedious and wearing, but through it I find a peace from God and things fall into place.

Lee has cancer of the liver and stomach and I am not sure how many more mornings I will be able to sit with him and drink our morning coffee. By the time this is printed, he may be better, he may not. The doctors couldn’t administer his chemotherapy this week because he is too weak; I expect he will remain too weak for the treatments.

As we prayed over him Tuesday night he gained a sense of peace. Everyone saw it and it was so clearly God’s hands holding him. I know that Lee has accepted the Lord as his personal Savior, and I will see him in heaven. I can just imagine him there, in perfect health and all his glory. Planning adventures and exploring the depths of heaven and what it has to offer. If you can get in trouble for pushing the limits there, he will. God will be spending overtime on my buddy Lee when He finally gets him, whenever that is. I did my part down here, Lord. When you get him, don’t say I didn’t warn you -- he gets up early, likes his coffee strong and has a lot of things to do. Until then, it’s one teaspoon of creamer and a teaspoon of honey with Lee’s coffee about 5:20 a.m. and I will be there.

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