It was odd flying in a commercial plane on Thursday. A couple of people mentioned 9-11, but there was nothing unusual about airport security. You still have to take your shoes off and throw your bottle of water in the trash can before you can pass through security. But, there didn’t seem to be added security or nervousness about flying. It doesn’t seem possible that it’s been 7 years since we were attacked by terrorist using our own aircraft as weapons. My upbringing and my faith teaches that it’s wrong to harbor anger, that carried long enough it will only bring pain. I have to confess that it may take 7 more years or more before my anger subsides.
I’m sort of sorry I was out of town because I missed the funeral of my friend Cousin Cliff. Many of you knew Cliff Holman, many more felt like you knew him. He liked that. I’ve watched him enough over the years to notice that he always made you feel special. On his television show he would always talk to each child, ask them their name, their age and where they went to school. Simple questions, and easy for a nervous 7-year-old to answer, and it was Cousin Cliff’s way of putting them at ease and at the same time send a clear message that who there were was important to him.
Yesterday I got to visit with Cousin Cliff’s son Kyle for a while. I’ve known him as long as I’ve lived in Birmingham. Kyle, like the other members of the family, have some relief that Cliff’s difficult health issues are no more. They begin the mourning process now that no one can predict for another. It will take time. I thanked Kyle and his mother Ann for their kindness and for sharing their husband and father with all of us all these years. Golly, we’re going to miss him.
Cliff Holman made television look easy; the good ones often do. To my knowledge he never used a script or a teleprompter -- didn’t need one. He didn’t need a stopwatch or someone timing a promotion announcement. If you told him something needed to be 30 seconds or 15 seconds long, that’s how long it would be, usually in one take and always just what was needed. And, he made television look easy because he wasn’t acting. He wasn’t one guy on TV and another off, he was consistent. He was funny, did good magic tricks and knew how to make a 6-year-old and a 56-year-old laugh at the same time. Golly, we’re going to miss him.
The last time I saw him with a microphone on, he talked about how much fun it was and how he wished we could all go back and do it again. He meant that, and I believe he’d do it all the same. I don’t know who spoke at Cousin Cliff’s funeral today; I don’t know what they said. I know it was appropriate and just the right message. I’m sure going to miss him.
I’ll end with my favorite Cousin Cliff joke. If you have $100 in one pocket and $50 in the other pocket, what do have? Cousin Cliff’s punch line... probably the wrong pair of pants.
I’ll be back on Monday, see you then.