In response to the letter from Maurice Lee Butler about the passing of Dickie Gallihugh [Sept. 12], I wish to first express my condolences at the passing of his friend. I lost a dear friend not long ago and recall now what I said then: His circumstances were stronger than a good man’s will.
When I first came to Rappahannock County about 15 years ago, I put a contract on a home that had been occupied by several generations of one family. Made up of both blood relatives and foster children, the family had been a strong presence in the community for decades. One member of the family, in his mid-50s, had lived in the house since he was 11. I could not imagine what a shock it must have been for him to have to leave his nearly lifelong home. He had helped to care for the elderly heads of the household, and in a different time, his role might have been rewarded and his needs secured as he grew old.
I considered asking him to stay on, in his old room, because that’s the way I wanted life to work. But it was not to be. Several hearts broke around that passage, certainly his most of all.
We can almost always do more for one another, and we are all wounded and flawed. Change is frightening and frustrating — but absolutely nothing escapes it.
I have seen many demonstrations in this community of people on both ends of the economic scale who do extraordinary things to help people weather life’s woes. I have been the recipient of much help as I weathered my own life’s enormous ups and downs. You’d think, with all the blessings I’ve received, I’d be uncategorically gracious and kind. But I’m not. I try, but no one’s going to put me up for sainthood.
The economy is not all that divides us. Pain is certainly part of that great divide.
I’m sorry that others didn’t get to know the beautiful outlook of your friend Dickie, Mr. Butler. And God bless you for defending him and offering such a fond remembrance. It’s vitally important that all of us notice each other and ask after each other and share our wealth, material or otherwise. I think that’s why a lot of us come-heres came here.
I think it’s also important, as you say, for all of us to question our assumptions. Is it really about rich people being less caring than middle- and lower-income people, or is it about some human beings being better at navigating the course of their lives than others, rich or middling or poor? If I ever get rich, I’ll report back.
In the meantime, thanks for giving us a moment’s pause, offering all of us a signpost along the way about a person worth knowing and a life worthy of respect.