There is a slogan I drew up as marketing officer for my gliding club, “Flight – the greatest gift”. We took Peter, just this last Christmas 2008, for a glider flight, on a very cold, but sunny Saturday. As he grabbed the controls, he smiled and his eyes sharpened, the youthful Spitfire Pilot, in his element once more ... it now seems that this was so well timed, so apt ... so I wrote this little verse. (apologies to Clement Clarke Moore.)
T'was a day, after Christmas, and out on the runway
an old fighter was stirring, squeezed under the canopy,
arthritis and deafness could not keep him down
parachute strapped, walking sticks on the ground,
Silver hair now framed a 16 year-old's smile
his soul in its element, no pain for a while,
and skypilot found lift ...through the single small cloud
an angel surged upward, this onlooker bowed,
Great joy in his flying, great gifts from his life, His spirit ...soars now, free of bodily strife.
November 21st, 2009
I loved him for his fire
the way he was,
matches, a handkerchief, a pen,
two penknives, a golfball and some string,
pliers, a pingway sleeper, a thrush's wing-feather...
and five tomatoes.
Two gold lions chained his thick black cloak,
his sneezes loud enough to wake
a hibernating Horace
(Horace was a bear).
His old Meccano mill turned magically
by the stream.
Push-button lights in his doll's-house
In robes of green and gold – or christening white
his crook'd arm made a human crib.
He trickled water,
giant hand soft-touching the newborn's brow.
Smiling eyes lighting on eyes.
I loved him for his fire
the way he was
the way he loved.
From Tony as debuted at memorial service 20/11/2009
You’ve heard and know a fair bit about Dad…his love, laughter and larger-than-life character. I’d like to focus on his spirit.
I only became aware of the depth of Dad’s spiritual life when I re-committed myself to Christ in my late 20’s. We talked and prayed together at a deeper level than ever before.
This crucial part of the man was nurtured through countless hours spent alone in a quiet room with God.
Dad’s spirit was/is entwined with God’s Holy Spirit.
Dad was loved by so many because he (and Mum) GAVE so much love to them – and they both gave love to others without ‘counting the cost’.
The source of this generous love was and is God, the God with whom he spent precious time every day – an example to all Christians and to any who are seeking.
This song, I think, encapsulates Dad’s feelings for God, for Jesus, for the source of his joy and love.
"This is the air I breathe; this is the air I breathe,
Your Holy Presence, living in me.
This is my daily bread; this is my daily bread,
Your very Word, spoken to me
And I, I’m desperate for You,
And I, I’m lost without You."
From Michael on 22/11/2009