Donald G. Taylor
I knew him for nearly thirty years and I never called him anything but Mr. T.; the irony not lost given that he was literally half the size of his A-Team namesake. Mr. T. died nearly a week ago and will be put to rest tomorrow. A small, quiet man with an impossibly large legacy. I will miss him, and I will miss the plaintive indictment he made against a cruel and selfish world. He was my Mother Teresa, my Tom Dooley, my Albert Schweitzer. I loved Mr. T. and wished I had told him so.
My friend, Mr. T., wasn't here to teach me - it was impossible for him to give me what he had. His grace, compassion, and humility were a testament to a God I would not meet for many years. He was here to restore my faith in other human beings, even though his piety was far beyond my potential. His goodness did not threaten me, nor did it shame me. It simply warmed me.
For now my grief is mediated by my knowledge of his legacy and the slow realization that I too have begun to look for my dignity in the places he inhabited, the faces he loved and nurtured, and the relative obscurity that mortal angels toil about in. I don't have his patience, never will - but he is in my heart and I will carry on in my own way, having an ideal to chase forever.