The day after Easter, a dear man died. To call him a friend might be misleading. I really didn't know him that well. He was a true gentelman though in every sense of the word. I knew him from my church. He was a man of great faith and a man who, at the age of 91, had a lot of wonderful stories to tell. His health has prevented him from coming to church for a while now, and I have missed him.
Today, in the church he loved so much, we will be saying goodbye to him with a lovely service he would be proud of. I will be among the participants. I will be next to the person swinging the smoking thurible of incense. The whole idea reminds me of a story he used to tell. I'm not certain it is actually true, but he used to serve as an acolyte at this very high-church parish in New York City, and the story could have actually happened.
At the time he was thurfier at Saint Mary the Virgin Episcopal Church and veteran actress Tallulah Bankhead was in the congregation. As the story goes, he was swinging his thurible, leading the procession up the center aisle, wearing his red cassock and lace cotta. Miss Bankhead leaned over and said “Love the dress dahling, but your purse is on fire.” I laughed. Today I cry.
Rest in peace dear friend.