Monday, May 02, 2005

Don Norman

so, i always imagine the worst. I had debated about trying to make the funeral for him, and if RTO hadn't had to be in OK Friday, i probably wouldn't have gone. it's a long drive to Tulsa. still, i wasn't sure what to expect, i hadn't really talked to him or his family in a while. so i could just picture showing up at the funeral and everyone going "huh?" but they didn't, they were glad i was there.

so covering some history. I worked with Don for three summers while i was in college. it was fun and that's where i got interested in accounting. his family and mine went to the same church and i was friends with his daughter, Valerie, who's a year younger than me. we went to the same high school even. when i was working with him, we'd always eat lunch at the same time, we both brought lunches from home, he carried his in his breifcase, along with the paper. we'd usually wind up checking out the wedding licenses granted and talking about the ages of some of the couples. (16 and 30? whose idea was that?)

anyway, there were lots of things i hadn't thought about until they mentioned it at his funeral. he had served in the army (i remember him telling RTO that the fun thing about Ft. Chaffee was that it was uphill no matter where you went). he was the quintessential home body. i don't know if he had ever been in a mall, and if he had it wasn't for very long and rarely. he would tell me he really didn't like to even go to the wal-mart in Jenks. but still he was friendly and could talk for a while once you got him started. at the funeral, i found out that he had taught english to laotian immigrants (i think this relates to his army service, though i can't remember where he served.) he was a rabid TU football and basketball fan. his family mentioned that it was always surprising when he was watching a game, because that was the only time he would ever yell. (i really can't even picture that) and i think the funniest bit was when the minister said that noone he talked to could remember don ever saying a bad word about anyone, except bill clinton.

from what the minister said don was diagnosed with kidney cancer a little over a month ago. i talked to Valerie for a while, and she said that it had helped that they had time to talk to him while he was in the hospital. i told RTO that i felt kinda goofy cause here i was ready to bawl and his family was happy, calm. she also told me it was great that i was there, said if don were there that's probably all he would talk about that evening. the girl that interviewed me for my last job even told me about how he had just raved about me. so maybe i should take this as a sign that i shouldn't try to get another "real job" he's been my best reference for the past ten years. so i'm still kind of sad. i talked about him and the funeral alot while we were driving to durant friday night. i know it's such a cliche, but he really did touch a lot of lives. i didn't really realize how much until friday.