Friday, August 15, 2014
Mojo, Isabelle and I were having our morning coffee, reading the paper, and discussing the news of the day.
(Actually, Mojo and I drink coffee, Isabelle prefers a latte.)
Mojo asked me a question. “Why do you read the obituaries first? “
Isabelle mewed, her latte having put her in a gentle frame of mind.
“You know you’re not dead or you wouldn’t be reading the obituaries.”
“I guess when you get to be my age, people you know begin to die. Some of them you knew well and some you bumped into along the way.
And to tell you the truth, sometimes it is those whom you had a momentary contact with who impacted you the most.
Let me give an example. We’ve talked about the violence that infects the human race. A man who just died gave me hope that one person can do something about it.” “Tell us about him.”
“It was long before you were a pup or a kitten. My hair was all black. I was working for a Congressman.
One day the Congressman was visited by Jim and Sarah Brady. (Jim is the one whose death I’ve just read about.) He had been the press secretary for President Ronald Reagan. Someone tried to shoot President Reagan.
The President was slightly wounded but Jim was seriously injured. A bullet literally passed through his head.
The Jim Brady I met was in a wheelchair. You could tell that he had been terribly hurt.
But, he had a great sense of humor. At some level he knew that laughter is the grace of God. He also had a cause.
He was lobbying for legislation that would require a background check before a handgun could be purchased. Folks told them that theirs was a lost cause – too much opposition. But, they were relentless.
The Congressman was open because he knew what Jim was talking about. Shortly before the Brady’s visit, a man checked out of a mental health facility in our district.
He bought a handgun, and trying to quiet his demons, shot up a crowded shopping mall.
A young husband and father was killed. The widow and mother had visited our office and urged us to try to prevent such tragedies from happening.
Jim Brady was the catalyst. Jim gave he Congressman the courage to do what he knew needed to be done. The Congressman signed on as a co-sponsor (one of the first in the deep South) to what was to become known as the Brady Bill when it was signed into law.”
“So, we can make a difference.”
“Yep, Jim Brady is one of those folks who reminded me of that. Be constant in your purpose and remember to laugh along the way. Thank you Jim Brady.”