And that is a title I hold in some pretty high regard, as there are so few I can assign that to. I think those of you who are, know who you are.

I felt proud and happy to be able to accompany him to his rest. And I only lost it a little while i was there. Several of the “African” families were there, the Africans perhaps a bit less restrained at demonstrating their grief than the musungu. Our guide, the “official” family guide, shared a few tears with me, which are a universal language as powerful as any other, since he only speaks French and Swahili.

While this was not a pleasure cruise it was nice to be able to visit with friends and (adopted) family. It was nice to place my hands on the horns of that magnificent Kudu.

On the way home the only one of literally hundreds of movies I might have watched that caught my interest was The Hobbit. And while it took some horrendous liberties with the book, it was actually quite entertaining, and that was enough. It was also enough to remind me of what Tolkien was trying to say to us, namely that there is good in the world, and that it it worth fighting for, and worth protecting. And that your friends are the ones who also understand this, and stand by your side in the rough moments, and when you can no longer stand they will carry or even drag you to where you need to be.

And then the waterworks started. So alone, somewhere over the Norwegian sea, I wept like a baby while most of the rest of the airplane slept.

I was taught to do what I could do to improve the world within the reach of my arms, for what else can an individual do? And then I learned, that there are those who will work tirelessly to extend the reach of their arms.

And now I am home again, with a lesson learned, and an old friend laid to rest. While I doubt I will ever be able to touch as many people as he did, I now know that I at least have a responsibility to try.

Eternal rest grant unto him, Oh Lord, and let Perpetual Light shine upon him.