Troy, my friend and neighbor, died yesterday.
A life-long educator, Troy taught me a number of things. He taught me that age, color of the skin, even the character of one's political and social views, need not stand in the way of friendship. As long as we agree to disagree in a civil manner. Better still, laugh about the meaninglessness of everything. Troy taught me that one was never too busy to stop and say hello to a friend. He taught me that rain or shine, a laugh would surely brighten my day, and that of those around me.
In his late seventies, with a pace-maker, diabetes, over-weight, and a host of other problems, Troy would never fail to drive in his golf-cart towards me, if he found me working in the yard. He'd then engage me in a conversation that touched on everything from linguistics to terrorism. "I am a rotten scoundrel; I don't believe in going to the church," he would declare in his booming voice, "but you, you are worse. You deny the good lord".
Here are a couple of verses from the ancient philosophy of the Lokayatas/Caravakas, that I am sure Troy would have liked:
While life is yours, live joyously;
None can escape Death's searching eye.
When once this frame of ours they burn,
How shall it ever again return?
The pleasure which arises to men from contact with sensible objects,
Is to be relinquished as accompanied by pain - such is the reasoning of fools;
The berries of paddy, rich with the finest white grains,
What man, seeking his true interest, would fling away because covered with husk and dust?
Troy did not want a funeral or a memorial service for him. He'd be buried in his family plot. Farewell, Troy, I'll miss you dearly. Yard work will never be the same without you around.