A small but ever widening circle of international friends that surprises this couple who have gown up in what was a small town called Charlotte. Twenty years ago we laughed to ourselves when we realized that we were the only couple speaking in English at a dinner party, that night Dan and Cecy were seated across from us. It may have been then that we knew Charlotte would one day become a great international city.
Of course we knew Dan and his wife Cecy, before he became mixed up in politics. A world most of us in the small business community consider rife with leg humpers and psychopaths. But that never seemed to matter to Dan. To him it was a way to help people in his community and his country.
And so it goes that I find myself at Dan's funeral.
I'm sitting a few rows behind Andy Dulin and Warren Cooksey ahead of them is a gaggle of politicians all huddled together like birds of a feather I suppose. Jennifer Roberts, Karen Bentley, Pat Cotham, and Matthew Ridenhour. Further towards the front former Governor Jim Martin and current Governor Pat McCrory. Mecklenburg County Sheriff Jim Pendergraph sits alone in front of me.
Sitting next to me is Charlotte Copy Data's Kal Kardous, he of course is Greek, and within arms length I can count six different nationalities.
The morning is punctuated by St. Matthews Monsignor McSweeney. This is the 3rd Mass of Christian Burial I've been to, where the Monsignor served as celebrant in as many years, and thankfully his dry sense of humor and humbleness are a very good fit.
The Monsignor was on hand for Mrs. Cedar's mother's burial some 20 years ago, he is a truly comforting presence today as well. As the service comes to a close he refers to Governor McCoroy as Mayor then corrects himself. But we know he does that sort of thing on purpose. At this point Mrs. Cedar is laughing quietly to herself. McSweeney is good.
Catholic funerals bring out the K of C Color Corps and it's a good show as well. But the real story is on the left side of the church, there the vast sea of pews are filled with Dan's family, proof he was truly blessed. Children, Grand Children and extended family, I lose count as Mrs. points out those we know by name. This is only the second or third time we have seen them all together. The last was at the Duke Mansion.
We worked two of Dan's campaigns, hosting events, placing signs, working polls on Election Day one win and the a loss. The loss was hard but there was always next year or so we thought.
I have to admit that Dan's death wasn't unexpected, ALS average is 2 years from the time if diagnosis. But many live much much longer, I really hoped for much longer.
But we will all go on, for tomorrow is another day.
Yet the world has lost a very bright beacon of light, and I have lost a friend, a good man the likes of which seem to be harder and harder to find.