There are things worse than moving. Saying goodbye to a long time, family friend is difficult under any circumstance. But saying goodbye to someone who was so full of life seems impossible. Tonight we attended a Rosary for a man who lived life to the fullest... Mr. Tony Alamo.
Now I refer to him as Mr. Alamo because his eldest son (also named Tony) was one of Leroy's best childhood and high school friends. Whenever we would refer to the elder Tony, we always called him Mr. Alamo to differentiate between the two.
I remember meeting Mr. Alamo when I was in high school long before Leroy and I started dating. We had a long conversation at an FFA breakfast about snow skiing. (One of his favorite hobbies.) After Leroy and I were married and I learned more about the man, it didn't take long to realize that he had incredible balance in his life. He played as hard as he worked... and for a dairyman, that required a whole lot of effort.
In the most recent years, my memories of him have included his attendance at the Central Catholic basketball games to watch his grandson play. He always had kind words for Steel (who was usually dressed in some spirited fashion, loudly cheering on his school mates.) We knew that Mr. Alamo appreciated Steel's enthusiasm, and I was so pleased that Steel had a chance to experience his friendly personality and zest for life. Even in battling his illness, Mr. Alamo lived well, enjoying the moment... and he was an inspiration to us all.
Tonight, as we waited for the Rosary to begin, we watched the line of people who came through. Almost all of them were familiar to me... true, long time friends who had come to pay their respects to the family we were there to support. Some faces we have not seen in years, and yet the time fades away as the memories come flooding back to us.
Everyone there tonight learned something from Mr. Alamo. Each one's experience different from the others, but everyone was touched by the life this man lived. And it can even be said we are graced by our common mourning.
What a wonderful gift.