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Excerpt from The Note:
Looking up from his seat in the front row, Danny was still amazed at how huge the church is. From the outside it looked more like a Cathedral from the Vatican than a church for a small town of two thousand people. The church is actually the oldest building still standing in the community. It's a beacon of hope, a safe haven, for those who need to be saved.
Today the church was packed. Nearly everyone in town was in attendance. Silence filled the room as Father Andrew stood up and slowly made his way to the podium. Father Andrew had retired from the priesthood fifteen years ago. His health was failing him and at age ninety, he was not expected to live much longer.
Father Daniels is the head priest of the church now but when Father Andrew informed Father Daniels that he wanted to perform the eulogy today, how could Father Daniels refuse. This is the first time since Father Andrew's retirement that he has come before the congregation to speak.
"When I first met Henry he was seventeen. I had moved here with my son from Oakland, California. I was to be the new head priest. Henry was waiting here at the church for our arrival. He wanted to be the first one to welcome the new priest."
"Henry was my first friend here in this new town. Everyone knew that was just the way Henry was, very outgoing. He was well known and well loved in this town. Everyone at one time or another came to Henry for help or advise just as much as they came here. Henry would never turn away anyone who truly needed him."
"We will miss him. He lived a full life and was very blessed."
As Father Andrew continued with his eulogy Danny's mind began to drift. He could not bear the thought of Henry, his grandfather, lying still in a coffin. Danny's father had run off when Danny was only six months old. The only father Danny ever knew was his grandfather. Danny's mother passed away when he was ten. His grandparents became the only family Danny had left.
Henry use to take Danny for a walk everyday around the farm since Danny was three years old. It was their time together and no one else was allowed to share it.
Until Danny learned how to read Henry would retell a classic story. Pirate stories were Danny's favorite because Henry would act out the sword fighting scenes, making Danny laugh with excitement.
As Danny got older the conversations grew more serious. Henry would allow Danny to ask anything that was on his mind. No subject was off limits. Whatever they talked about out in the field stayed there. Most days Danny just wanted to hear about his grandfather's time in World War II. The places he went. The things he saw. The people he met.
When Danny turned fifteen Henry started teaching Danny what it took to be a real man, a gentleman. Henry taught Danny the importance of respecting his elders, treating a woman properly, being polite at all times, and showing manners. Henry told Danny that it was important to help those who truly needed help because it was the Lord who sent them to him for help in the first place.