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Thursday, August 18, 2011

On the Loss of Jimmy Standifer

Today I received notification of the loss of my cousin, Jimmy Standifer.  He died Wednesday at the age of 83.  His funeral will be Saturday in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  I remember Jimmy as an unfailingly positive person, always ready with an encouraging smile.  As a youth, I was utterly fascinated by the fact that he could build a room under his house (since the ground was Alabama clay, not Florida sand).  In July 1971, he brought his family for a visit to Bradenton, Florida to visit his Uncle Ed (my father).  Since my dad was getting frail at the time, it was a pilgrimage of sorts—one last time to smile on his Uncle Ed.  The selfsame conveyor belt of time has now brought Jimmy to his demise. I understand he had Alzheimer’s towards the end.  Life can meet with so much tragedy and sadness.  A loss of a family member brings death much closer than hearsay about the death of strangers.  It is impossible for me this evening not to recall the words of John Donne from Meditation 17 (1624):  “No man is an iland, intire of it selfe…  any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee...”

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