Delivered by Prodos at Oakhill Cemetery, Cincinnati USA, on July 05 2010 but with some ad-libbing, not noted below
Friends, welcome to the quiet waters and green pastures of Oakhill cemetery.
Under the wide and starry sky
Dig the grave and let me lie.
Glad did I live, and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will.
This be the verse you (en)grave for me:
Here he lies where he longed to be;
Home is the sailor, home from the sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.
(Robert Louis Stevenson)
Albert Kendall Himes.
Five days ago we parted.
Ten days ago we partied!
It was Al’s explicit wish that we party!
That we arrange a day of festivities at the House of Himes
To which all friends and loved ones could come along
In order to celebrate Al’s life
And to give him – and them – the opportunity to personally say farewell
To say farewell by saying thank you.
And that’s what happened.
We thanked Al.
Al thanked us.
There was much shaking of hands, hugging, laughter and pleasantry.
Everyone who attended that party left with a lightness of spirit and a sense of hope and optimism about living.
Albert Himes lifted the burden of all who attended.
That was no surprise, was it?
But here is where the magic happened.
Even those who did not attend – but merely learned about The Party and its nature and its purpose felt the inspiration of its intended purpose.
Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
Of course it wasn’t The Party as such that inspired people – that won the affection and admiration even of those who didn’t know Albert Himes.
It was the idea of the sort of man who could conceive of such a thing in the first place!
Of the sort of man who saw himself and the world around him in such a way that on his last days of life, felt a celebration of life was surely in order.
Where others may have hidden in shadows, cringed or cried, Albert Himes looked you in the eye, smiled, and shook your hand.
For each tree is known by its own fruit.
For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they pick grapes from a briar bush.
It was not in him to be any other way.
Everything and everyone Albert Himes touched became more pleasant . . . lighter in their burden . . . sturdier on their feet . . . more open about living and laughing.
Not through the eloquence of his words, but through his example and his actions.
The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley
of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the
presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over
Surely goodness and mercy shall
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house
of the Lord
How do we measure a man?
How do we measure the success of a man’s life?
If the standard of measurement is the quality of one’s friends
If the standard is the respect, love and loyalty of one’s family
If the standard is the honesty and integrity that underlie one’s every motive and action
If the standard is the courage and intelligence by which one faces every challenge
Then I tell you that Albert Himes was as good as a good man can be!
Whether called upon to help defend his country or his family
Or to stand up for a colleague who was being unfairly treated – man or woman, white or black, young or old – Albert Himes never shirked from doing what was right for even an instant.
The two most likely places you’d find a man like Albert Himes would be either Ancient Greece
Or the United States of America.
For in both those places, President George Washington’s words reigned supreme, that …
[T]here exists in the economy and course of nature, an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness; between duty and advantage;
Virtue and Happiness.
For the Founding Fathers, the powers of the State had to have clear separation!
But Virtue and Happiness were inseparable.
And so it was for Al.
Ayn Rand: Man is a being of self-made soul
Now I ask you friends: Can you think of any greater praise for any man than to say: “There goes a man of fine character”!?
And if there are still some words left unsaid, today we all say farewell by saying the words that Al earned: “thank you”.
Thank you Albert Kendall Himes:
For defending this great nation
For building a splendid home
For winning Ruthy’s heart
For opening doors and lending a hand to worthy colleagues
So that they could achieve their careers, their dreams
For raising the beautiful daughter who is my soulmate
For your friendship and wise counsel
For being such a fine example of excellent character
Aristotle and Ben Franklin salute you.
I salute you, sir.
Ten days ago we Partied. Five Days ago we parted.
Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn’s rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there, I did not die …
To a father and a friend.
Farewell for now.