Sunday, June 21, 2009

Eulogy for a Decent Man

“No man is an island, entire of itself;

every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less,
as well as if a promontory were,
as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were;
any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
it tolls for thee.”

-John Donne

I first came upon this verse several years ago and was moved by the message that it relays. Naively, I had originally thought that the entire passage was the work of Ernest Hemmingway. Later I learned that Hemingway borrowed a portion of this passage as the title to a book he had written. I have never been much into poetry, but that does not mean that the meaning of this passage was lost on me.

I have been diminished this past week. I received a message from an old friend informing me that a most decent human being had passed away. This news was not the type of thing to be acknowledged and filed away with a touch of sadness, this loss made me sink inside. This world has too few truly generous, kind human beings to let this news speed by like so many other bits of news that we process each day.

Sometimes you have to stop.

Bob Hromika and I crossed paths several years ago when I joined a community of metal detecting enthusiasts. I knew nothing at all about the hobby, and Bob took me under his wing. Bob had incredibly big wings, he took everyone under his wing. As we corresponded in the weeks and months that followed I learned to respect Bob, or Boobie as he was commonly known, as one of those rare people who was just plain friendly to the core. He was always quick with encouragement and advice, a good joke or an invitation to join him on a hunt. He lived his life to a high standard, and I am very happy that I was privileged enough to have known him.

My condolences go out to his loving wife, and to his children and grandchildren.

The tolling of this particular bell has indeed tolled for me.

Godspeed Boobie.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What lovely words for a lovely man. Thank you D, from JB