Re: Hero's & Villians, Saint's & Sinners
My cousin Danny, who is several years older than me, and lost the use of his right arm in a motocross racing accident in the 70's, just prior to turning pro. He and another rider we're battling hard for first place and got tangled up in the air off off a jump. He was the best rider in my family and was simply waiting for his birthday to become old enough to turn pro. He never felt sorry for himself, and he never let it hold him back. It didn't stop him from buying a Barracuda, with a 4-speed no less, and drag racing it by steering with his knees and reaching across and shifting with his left hand. With one arm the man could outwork most people, including myself. I respect him more than any other relative I have, simply because of the setbacks he had to endure, and his spirit and approach to life. He had a stroke several years back and became no longer able to work. He and his wife have since moved to Pennsylvania, and I haven't seen him since. He's not doing well, and unable to communicate on the phone. I have much respect for him, I know that if I found myself in the same shoes I couldn't have handled it nearly as admirably.
Also, my Uncle Ronnie, who was the star of his high school baseball team and went on to play minor league baseball. He gave it up to enlist for the war in Vietnam. He served with the 1st Cavalry division. I always felt he was rough on me growing up, whether it was my attitude on the baseball field, or the times he felt I wasn't being respectful to my mom. I didn't understand the reasons why until later when I was old enough to understand everything he witnessed and went through. He unfortunately woke up one day with severe leg pain, went to the VA Hospital only to find out that his entire body was riddled with cancer and was told he only had a couple months left. He passed away a few months later. He taught me a lot about respect.
In life we all need "Role Model's" , it give's us a benchmark to aim for, for a lot of us that model is a relative , and all the more painful when they go, but always remember that smile they had to keep us going