Good bye Julian
I noticed him before I knew him . I would often see teen-aged Julian and his four sisters in local discount stores or hanging out outside their home. It was hard not to notice them, they were striking, first for their impossible height, second for their piercing blue, brown, or hazel eyes and dazzling smiles.
About five years ago Julian, the girls, and their mother began attending our church’s Tuesday night community meals and formal introductions were made. Almost immediately the teens became an integral part of our volunteer staff; cleaning tables, washing dishes, and playing with the smaller children. All of us old fuddy-duddies on the kitchen staff grew to love those funny, exuberant teens and their boundless energy.
Schedules and circumstances changed and eventually we no longer saw the “half-Jamaican, half-Cherokee, half-English, half-African-American, half- Irish, half-Babylonian” (Julian’s description) family on Tuesday nights. Communication was reduced to a quick hug when I saw them in public, or a wave when I passed their house on my way to Elyria.
And then the news last Friday. Julian had been killed in a car accident. This couldn’t be right. Not the smiling man/child of Tuesday Night Supper.
The small church was packed this morning as his boss told tales of Julian’s easy charm, deep faith, and child-like sense of fun. Apparently at 22 he was still more boy than grown-up. He won’t fulfill his dream of becoming a police officer, but he would be proud to know that city police showed up in force this morning to say good bye, and the police chief himself directed traffic as the funeral procession moved slowly toward the cemetery.
Good bye Julian. The world is a darker place with you no longer in it.