A letter to Chuck at his memorial service
June 24, 2012 by Bill
I wrote you a letter this morning:
Chuck, dear friend, compadré and kindred spirit. You and I have had two dear friends that were full blood Lakota Sioux American Indians. You remember “Red Crow,” a speaker at my Walk of Stars dedication, and Vine Deloria who stayed over night in your guest house several times.
They both believed that there are two dimensions of reality: “this side” where we live now, and the “other side” where we join the spirit world as we depart this side and this life. These two sides are connected by consciousness, and this life, so called, is only a brief interlude between two mysteries, which are yet one.
And Chuck, from our many conversations you know that I also believe this, and that is why there is not a doubt in my mind that you, at this very moment, are receiving this letter to you in the presence of your many friends.
You and I talked often of my Marine Corps pilot days, and one day as I was standing on the stern, the back of the deck of any aircraft carrier, I was mesmerized by the wake the ship was leaving behind.
And I thought, the evolution of our spirit is blazed on the background of eternity by our individual wakes.
Every person can, if he/she wishes, leave a more or less brilliant wake behind them, which widens or prolongs the existing path and contributes to its fanlike expansion. Everyone here this morning will leave a wake.
But we are present to celebrate the wake that you left behind, whose fanlike expansion has been such a positive and constructive influence in the business community, the social life of the valley, the people employed by Prime Time International, those of my Sunday morning symposium. And, Chuck, really, in the lives of all who knew you.
Your threads of thought and influence will be remembered for generations, and I want to tell you that in all of my years of military life, university and academic life, you were one of the most generous human beings I have ever known. I remember saying to you one day, “Don’t you know they are taking advantage of you?” And you smiled, and said, yes, you knew it, and went right on eating your biscuits and gravy, and I thought, wow, here is a man like I have never known in the cut throat world of business.
I will always remember, on this side and the other side, how you supported me by your presence and attendance, with Gayle by your side, wherever I lectured, from Taos, New Mexico to Santa Barbara, CA, always in the front row with Gayle, and never missing a Sunday symposium, even after a late Saturday night.
Your support of causes and individuals, not just financial, but even more important, by concern, interest, presence and enthusiasm, left a wake beyond measure.
You know Chuck, how much you and I loved dogs and you ended up getting a Shih Tzu, just like ours from the same breeder. But I want to tell you that your habit of picking up a stray, lost and hungry dog on the street, and caring for it, could move me to tears.
Dear compadré, one of the most affectionate moments in my life was the time after our friendship with the two Lakota Sioux, Red Crow and Vine Deloria, you started calling me “Crazy Horse.”
And I treasure the many times you called me from around the United States. I would answer the phone and you would say, “Hey, Crazy Horse, guess where I am?” I would say, “I give up. Where?” And what joy – one time was from the grave of Mark Twain, another time was from inside the New York City Public Library, another time was from my congregational church in McCall Idaho. It was always, “Hey Crazy Horse, guess where I am?”
Well, early this morning, in my twilight zone, half awake, with consciousness activated, I heard the voice, as clear and sharp as ever, and the voice said, “Hey Crazy Horse, guess where I am?”
And I said, “I don’t know, compadré. But one thing I know – Wherever it is, it would be a good place to be.”