Human pinballs

Published 6:28 pm Friday, March 22, 2019


Humans parade about with hollow pride believing we are self-made, completely independent individuals. In reality, we are merely a repository of memories of our encounters with others — encounters brief, some by chance, many almost inconsequential in themselves, but cumulatively significant to our development. For, hopefully, years we are in the presence of parents, relatives, childhood friends and perhaps a year or more we are under the sphere of our teachers as we complete our education.

Brief, sometime pausing, encounters for a duration not of our choosing. We may barely recall the encounter, but we are strangely changed nonetheless and our life’s direction is slightly altered. As we get older, we are separated from these individuals by time, distance and ultimately death, as obituaries are published and cemeteries collect all. Death being so personal. It is a lousy reality of getting older that our final acknowledgement of one’s influence is standing beside an open grave to say “goodbye” — actually saying “thank you.” The “lucky ones” repeat this ritual until they realize they know more people resting under granite than those with whom they breathe the same air.

Many locals of my generation lost another soul this week in the passing of Bill (Jesse) Vick. Mr. Vick is known as P.E. teacher, track coach, drivers’ ed instructor, gymnastics coach, master woodworker, preserver of history.

In high school, Mr. Vick was able to help students discover their inner strength and develop their confidence such that I was totally stunned when my best friend performed a backflip from a solemn stand. I have seen God’s glory revealed in the beauty of wood, in Mr. Vick’s hands. And Mr. Vick gave me the world, or at least that portion I could see, armed with car keys.

Firmly believing that we live as long as we are remembered, shaping the lives of others. Bill Vick will continue to “live” for years to come. Only now, his earthly body has a permanent address.

Thank you, Mr. Vick.

Rick Francis