Yesterday Charlie Edward “Tremendous” Jones “graduated” and I’m sure the welcome home party is at full tilt in heaven today. Tremendous was one of my dearest friends as he was to so many. The cancer eventually diminished his big bear of a body but never touched his spirit. It couldn’t.
Because of Charlie I am a better husband, a better father, a better Christian…a better person.
I dedicated my last book to Charlie and described him as “larger than life.” He was and still is.
His niece Laura called me while I was in Chicago O’Hare Airport with the news. I called my friend Don Hutson to let him know. Charlie’s illness had been long and his passing expected, but after a few minutes Don said, “I think I’m going to cry now.” All I could get out was “Me too.” It takes alot for a left-brain guy to start sobbing in the middle of a crowded concourse, but yesterday it didn’t matter.
We weren’t crying for Charlie. Charlie was so anxious to see Jesus face-to-face. He had only been able to whisper for months and yesterday he got his voice back, and his joy became complete. We were crying for us, his family, friends and those Charlie touched, because we will miss him…his booming voice, hugs, sense of humor, sparkle, singing, encouraging, counseling and loving.
Goodbye, Charlie…but just for now. Because as you used to say, we will see each other again “in the morning.”