Thursday, August 02, 2007

Measuring Greatness

Today, I went by Dad's house to take care of a couple of things. Clyde Boyd, the across-the-street neighbor, came over to bring me Dad's mail and to find out how things were. I told him Dad's condition and what was forthcoming.

Mr. Boyd is a quiet, restrained man, the sort of neighbor who always had a greeting and a wave and a kind word but largely kept to himself and his family. Our family and the Boyds moved in within six months of one another back in 1963 and have been neighbors ever since. As I told him about Dad, I saw his eyes begin to well up; after a moment, his shoulders shook with sobs, and he reached out to hug me--both to comfort me and to share sorrow.

"I've lived near a lot of good people," he said, "but your father is the only great man I've ever had for a neighbor."

Dad has touched so many more people than I would have ever thought...

Kim talked to Burgett Mooney Jr. at the Rome News-Tribune; Dad worked with "Big Burgett," who died a few years ago, as well as with "Little Burgett," who has taken over his father's newspaper and publishing ventures. Burgett was profoundly upset, Kim told me, to hear of Dad's condition. "I'm not going to come see Don-Don like this," he said (I'm not sure the history of the name "Don-Don," but I'm going to find out at some time when all this has been resolved). "I don't think he'd want to... and I don't think I could hold myself together once I saw him."

Bob Cescutti described dad as "a prince." Dad's regal nature was more common than royalty, however; it was a nobility of spirit, not an aristocracy, that defined him.

2 comments:

Brett Brooks said...

I only met your dad a few times, but each time I noticed what you talk about. There was an air of nobility about your father; a sense of quite resolve and confidence that was unmistakable. It was inspirational and awe inspiring, both.

Cliff, please know that I love you and will always be there for anything that you need.

Mike Boatner said...

Cliff, I'm an old friend of Lanny's. Having lost my Dad almost 3 years ago, I can only imagine the loss. I find myself so many times wishing I could have one more conversation with my Dad. I miss his wisdom and his dry wit. I will keep you and your family in my prayers.