Friday, May 25, 2012

Requiem for a Friend

Earth Loses, Heaven Gains
People live their lives in a variety of fashions. Some succeed wildly while sacrificing the simple pleasures of personal relationships. Others cling to old ways, content to remain in their original towns and settle for being merely comfortable. My town is like that for the most part, as we have a very large segment of it comprised of people who either stayed or returned.

My friend Steven Hintze is one of those who stayed for all of his 60 years, and his measure of success was entirely different from the traditional notion. For that matter, so was the measure of his multitude of friends who saw him as a figure to be both loved and envied.

Steve was one of those men who never seemed angry -- unless the New York Yankees were losing a ball game -- and brought sunshine into any room he entered. I refer to him as the unofficial Mayor of our town because he knew almost everyone, and they knew him. To my knowledge, no one who knew him had anything but love for him. I can't think of another man I know without at least one enemy.

Steve was a rich man, but not in the sense one usually associates with wealth. His was a world many would embrace, a world full of family and friends and the opportunity to enjoy it all to the fullest. He worked close to home, so he never had the brutal commutes many people face. His family is very close knit, just as his friendships have always been, and his outlook on life was always optimistic. Steve could take the worst barbs of jest with a self-deprecating grin that would instantly disarm the person delivering them, and he rarely fired back.

Steve liked his Coors Light, enough to cause a prohibitionist to declare that Heaven was not an option at the end. As it turns out, God had other plans. Steve was taken from us a few days ago, called from his dreams into the Heavenly arms of our Father.

Funny how life works out; as we get older, we think about death a bit more, realizing that we're not as immortal as we thought at twenty. None of us is in a hurry to go, though, but at the same time, when a brother like Steve Hintze is called as he was, some of us feel like the last kid picked for basketball in gym class.

If you don't get the analogy, don't worry; it was designed for Steve and God. They'll get it.

God speed, Steve, and prepare a place for your family and all your friends. I just hope that when we all meet again, we don't laugh a hole in the clouds and plummet back down here.

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