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Front Page » January 20, 2009 » Opinion » Editor's Notes-goodbye to a friend
Published 2,066 days ago

Editor's Notes-goodbye to a friend


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By PATSY STODDARD
Editor

Can the world be a gentler kinder place? Sometimes you have to wonder. I really hate to watch the news any more. There are so many murders and horrible atrocities. Wars all around the world. You wonder if you could ever really make a difference in the world, especially in the light of how things seem to be going.

I attended a funeral today for a friend, John Bissell. I knew him from my many years of having kids in schools. He was a custodian at Canyon View Junior High and then at Emery High. I have had several kids play sports and John was always there at all the games. He never failed to tell them good game.

He always talked to me and asked me if I was getting any good pictures. He was always there. Always kind and generous and there to watch the kids perform at athletics and band and chorus concerts. Watching the school kids was his life.

John was always there to help out. I attend every activity I can get to, and most all of what my kids have been involved with and John never seemed to miss anything. Even when he wasn't on duty he was just there to hang out and watch.

I have talked to him many times over the years and he was always a friendly face. This past fall our economic development council sponsored a Meet the Candidate night. John was there to make sure the tables and chairs were set up. When I told him we needed another table for refreshments, he helped me drag one out of Neal's room. He even helped me put red, white and blue decorations all over. I told him he didn't have to stay and listen to these politicians, but he said he wanted to and found a seat and sat through the whole thing so he was there to clean-up when it was finished.

John always seemed to go above and beyond the call of duty or just his job description. I know in recent years, he didn't feel well and you could see that he had slowed down some.

John did make the world a gentler, kinder place. I wonder what our purpose really is here on the earth. My husband came home the other day from a black powder shoot. He told me that a man we knew from a blackpowder club in Salt Lake had died by his own hand. Then my husband said, "He had a lot of money, I wonder why he would do that." I gently reminded him that money has never been or will it ever be the answer to true happiness. Not having money may make things inconvenient, but it can't make you unhappy. You can choose to be happy, even in the most desperate of physical circumstances.

My son has sent me several photos from the Fiji Islands, these people don't have a lot of material possessions; but they all seem very happy. They have big smiles on their faces and seem geniunely happy.

What can we do to be happy ourselves and spread happiness. Have you noticed that often people won't speak unless spoken to. I do this experiment in Walmart where I smile and say hello to everyone I see in the store whether I know them or not. Most of the time they probably think I am nuts, and they are right, but it's great fun to see who will talk back and most people will. One guy asked if I could help him find something in the store and yes, I did know where the canned milk was.

It seems like people are more happy during the Christmas season and it's easier to feel the love. But, here we are the middle of January, what can we do to keep that spirit going. Can we share a smile? Can we invite someone to dinner? Can we say hello to strangers? Can we let someone into traffic? Can we drive without road rage? Maybe we can't do huge things. Maybe we can't stop wars. But, we can start chains of kindnesses, just small things can lead to bigger things. Going to that funeral today reminded me that man can be better, he can do better and be kinder. My heart was sore to lose a friend, but I am glad I was able to know this man. He has helped me to become a better person.

John was the kind of guy who was probably taken for granted. Probably not that many people noticed him, or paid much attention and maybe they didn't have a kind word to say to him. But, that is their loss. Maybe we should spend more time seeking out those people who are in need, those people who could use a kind word. There is so much we can do to help the world become a better place.

John died rather suddenly. There wasn't much chance for good-byes. This made me realize too, that each day is a gift and shouldn't be taken for granted. The next time you see someone might be the last time. So make everything count. Don't let things slide by until tomorrow that you could do today. Pick up that phone and call someone you haven't talked to in awhile. Send that letter to your lonely aunt. Just do something to brighten someone else's day. Cheering someone up and doing service is a great reward. We gain far more than we give when we seek to help others.

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January 20, 2009
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