What is one remarkable thing you've witnessed at a funeral?
Answer by John Roberson:
A few years ago I attended an accountant's funeral. I was a bit worried it would be poorly attended, to be honest. He had never married, worked long hours, was overweight, and didn't have much of a social life. It was midday, midweek, the week before Thanksgiving, on short notice.
First his brothers spoke, which was encouraging. They talked about their own families and what he meant to his teenage nieces and nephews. He had a pet name which the children uttered with affection — "Dude."
But there seemed to be many more teenagers than a couple of brothers could account for.
The music played. It was awkward. A pianist took care of the accompaniment, but no one knew the songs, and nobody was leading the singing. Finally Amazing Grace came along, and the group could sing.
I was feeling disappointed. This man may not have been rich or famous, but he was kind. He remembered my kids' names. He smiled. "Dude" didn't deserve a let-down.
Then something much better happened.
One of the kids trudged up to the mic. He was not happy. Tears. But he also couldn't not smile.
This accountant did, indeed, love his nieces and nephews. So much that he attended their basketball games. All of them. And, being an accountant, what did he do with his time? Kept stats. Very detailed stats. For every player on the court.
"Dude" would tally up the totals and rank the performances. The most-coveted statistic was "heart," his own gauge of how hard a player worked to win. As an accountant, he was notoriously tough in his grading. The boy spoke of the time he received an 8.5/10 in "heart" with wonder and awe.
At the end of each game, every player would crowd around the accountant's notebook, eager to see those stats. "Dude" didn't just show up to clock in for simple parental responsibilities. "Dude" was the most loved man on the court.
Sometimes people would stick around to ask him about this or that. The pudgy number-cruncher had an adult’s experience, but a friend's heart. Apparently he had helped various children through parents' divorces, the terminal illness of a sibling, and more.
At the end of his eulogy, the boy showed us a scorecard that he had written up, not for basketball but for a whole life, not the man’s judgment of the boy but the boy’s judgment of the man.
The other kids started to walk up. One after another. I couldn't believe how many. On a Wednesday. At midday. During the school year. On short notice.
They wanted to see the final tally.
He was tough but fair, as would only be right. And in the final column, he gave the first ever perfect 10 for "heart."
Rest in peace, "Dude."