A friend of mine, Dana Kendrick, recently passed unexpectedly from a heart attack. Our mutual friend, Brent McPhie, shared a story with me from Dana’s life. Here is a recount of that story written in my words:
Dana and his family were living in Dallas Texas. They received a call from Larry, Dana’s brother, suggesting he would be in town and wanted to come visit them. Dana and Larry were excited to see each other and catch up on old times. The timing allowed for them to do something they each enjoyed; playing golf!
Larry finished his meetings in a nearby town, late Friday afternoon and began driving to Garland to meet the family for dinner. This was fun for both the family and Larry as they hadn’t had a lot of one on one time together. During dinner everyone enjoyed sharing stories and laughed at some of their family experiences.
After dinner, Dana and Larry strategized on how their golf trip would play out. Dana had an important meeting the following Monday and needed to retrieve some documents from his office sometime over the weekend. Larry knew he would enjoy riding with Dana to the office, so they agreed to go early before their golf adventure.
Early that morning Larry could hear Dana up making a fuss around the house. Not really paying much attention to what he was doing, Larry noticed Dana was helping his daughters get ready for something. When the time came to leave, Larry learned his nieces wanted to come with them and be with their Uncle. These young ladies were decked out head to toe in matching outfits.
Off the four of them went. Dana had purchased a new car; they were traveling in style. Nearly to the office, Dana approached a red light in the intersection just in front of his office. They stopped naturally, but Larry noticed a “scary” looking older gentleman approaching them who he believed was homeless. He wondered to himself what his brother would do in this situation.
As the man was getting near, Dana rolled his window down saying, “Hello Henry.” Larry and the girls were shocked to say the least! This fellow replied, “How are you Mr Dana?” Dana carried on a brief conversation with Henry then suggested they needed to leave as he wished him well. See you again soon Mr Dana, Henry exclaimed as he waved goodbye to his friends.
Needless to say, the girls sat back slightly away from Henry in fear of this encounter because he not only looked scary but he stunk profusely too. He had to be within a foot of their Dad and was leaving dirt marks on everything he touched. Larry was impressed not having had any thoughts that Dana would have had this type of reaction.
While this brief visit had an impact on Larry, it paled in comparison to what happened when they stopped to park their car at the office. As Larry remembers it, Dana stopped, turned around to face his daughters and spoke to them while they were still carrying fear in their hearts, “Girls, that was Henry. There is not another person on earth that I know of that is more different from the two of you.
Henry stinks rarely taking a bath. You girls bathe nearly everyday and smell sweet. Henry sleeps outside on the ground or leaning against a building. You girls sleep in a nice warm bed every night. Henry doesn’t eat much and abuses his body with both drugs and alcohol. You two eat well everyday and never abuse your bodies as he does.
Oddly enough, Henry rarely if ever brushes his teeth, as a result he doesn’t have many while you each can brush a full set of teeth several times each day and do so. The abuse Henry has placed on his body has caused diabetes, high blood pressure, psoriasis of the liver and more than likely several other diseases. Your Mom takes you to the doctor each year making sure you stay healthy.
It may be that Henry feels no one on earth loves him or cares whether he lives or dies. Each of you on the other hand have many people who care for you deeply, your parents, aunts, uncles such as uncle Larry here with us now, cousins, friends, neighbors, etc.”
Dana then shared words of wisdom neither of his girls or Larry will ever forget, “Girls, there is something I want you to always remember. Even though we are as different as we are from Henry, none of us are any better as people than he is. Henry, along with each of us are children of our Creator. God loves us all equally and wants us to find joy. Being blessed as we are, perhaps it is our duty to help a fellow being get back on his/her feet when the opportunity is available. I know Henry would do the same for us given the chance.”
Dana, your life and example will never be forgotten! Thank you for your friendship and willingness to participate in life. You have left a legacy; one that will benefit people for generations. May you rest in peace knowing you left us all better for having known you.