As we age it seems our thoughts more often turn to the past than to the future. The past, after all, represents a far greater percentage of our lives than does the future which, quite honestly, could be very brief indeed. And as we settle into a kind of quasi-retirement, our plans and hopes tend to focus on a less distant horizon. I also believe that, because our extensive pasts are brimming over with a lifetime of experiences, our thoughts naturally turn in that direction when we encounter something new. We measure the new by placing it alongside that which we have experienced and evaluate it accordingly. But it's not just our own experiences that enter into the mix, but the experiences of the special few who have had a major influence on us.
If one is fortunate his life will be blessed by a few people who have freely offered not only their wisdom but also their encouragement, their advice, and their hope. And if one is extremely fortunate, that wisdom will always be timeless, that encouragement always positive, that advice always sound, and that hope ever fulfilled. I for one have been extremely fortunate.
My father, John McCarthy, is certainly at the very top of the list of those who changed my life, who changed me, always for the better. But there were others -- just a few others -- and right up there on that same list with my father was Captain Charles Boone Smiley, United States Navy, Retired.
|Chuck and I cutting cake 1970|
That commanding officer, Chuck Smiley, then already a mentor, eventually became a lifelong close friend. Interestingly, Chuck's wife, Sally, filled the same role for my young wife, Diane. Indeed, whenever Diane uttered the words, "Well, Sally said...", I knew that further discussion was unnecessary; all was settled; Sally had spoken.
|Sally & Chuck (2008)|
|Did two people share a greater love?|
|C. B. Smiley: 1930-2016|
A wonderful husband, father and grandfather, a friend like no other, a patriot, and a faithful servant in the Lord's vineyard -- how we will miss him!
May The Lord bless you and keep you, Chuck. May His face shine upon you and be gracious to you. May He look upon you with kindness and give you peace.
Rest in peace, Chuck. If I could bake a cake, I would.