Yesterday, Friday, the Job Corps where Chuck worked held a service for him at their Center on Maui . It was a wonderful experience. Chuck's US Job Corps activities were with the section that works with Micronesians--who are citizens of the US Territories. The Corps trains Micronesians in Kwajelein, and then bring them here (to Maui) for further training, preparing them for life in the US once they are able speak the language well enough to live on their own. There is an island just off of Kwaj, where many Micronesians who work on our base there live, and where the Job Corps trainees come from. While working with Job Corps on Kwaj, Chuck got to know a lot of the families who have kids in the program. All of the trainees yesterday seemed like high school to college age kids. They really loved Chuck and called him Jimma, which means Grandfather. You could tell that he had really become Marshallese and had been 100% accepted by them as one of them. He really loved them, and they really loved him. It was a real "family" experience that went on for two and a half hours. Chuck's son, Charlie, his wife Barbara, and his sister Cathy were there and all spoke. In the eulogy and in their talk, they mentioned his life in the Brothers, and I was introduced as one of the ten who joined the order from Notre Dame High School . The kids seemed to be aware of the Big Ten. One of the few pictures prominently displayed was of Chuck in his habit with his nine brothers and sisters from the '50s.
I want to pass on to you an unusual happening. When I heard of Chuck's death, I immediately started thinking about going to the funeral. Given the outrageously high cost of gasoline and everything else that skyrocketed along with it in the last six months or so, things are pretty tight these days. And when I mentioned it to Doris , she said we just could not afford that luxury now. Airfare alone had shot to $170 each way, for the fifty mile trip. I really wanted to go, but agreed it would be selfish.
Meanwhile, we had a timeshare exchange that going to expire next week. We had decided to advertise it on Craigslist as a vacation rental, and to use it ourselves if there were no takers. I got only one bite, a Canadian fellow who was getting married in two weeks, and wanted a place for three-days-only in later October. My week for the timeshare began this Sunday. I wrote him back, jokingly telling him he should move the wedding up a week or so.
The night before the funeral, I woke up a little before 4. Being wide awake, I decided to have a glass of milk, hoping to get back to sleep. I sat down in front of my computer to drink it, and I thought of Chuck, and realized that I would have arisen about this time if I were going to Maui . I said out loud, "Well, Chuck, I'm sorry. You know I really want to come today, but it doesn't look like it is going to happen. If there is any chance I am going to be there, you're going to have to do something to get me there." I didn't have time for more than another sip of milk before I heard the "bedoinK! You've got mail" sound from the computer. "Well, shit, that was fast!" I said, as I turned to the computer, expecting to see a junk mail ad arriving in the middle of the night. Instead, it was a message from the Canadian who had written some days before, saying he would not only take the timeshare starting this Sunday, but he would take it for the whole week, rather than three days—a bonanza of unexpected cash for us. Then I noticed his name, Mike Doom. Yes, that gave me shivers, too. Doris was awake when I got back to bed and asked if there was any news. When I told her, she said that I had better go to Maui. This is really a true story. I would not have been there if it had not happened.