Topic: "He is deeply missed (2)"
Frodo has always had an affection for newspapers. When he travels the lands of Middle Earth, he finds a reason to purchase the local paper and to peruse the chronicle of life in an alien community. The local police report, local politics (which may actually be the same thing), and the obituaries are his favorites.
"The obituaries Mr. Frodo? Is that a reflection of the fact that you're checking to make sure that you're not listed?," asked Sam.
"No Sam, I've simply found that by listing the things that are remembered as important, the writer is apparently addressing the values of the community. It goes without saying that it also tells us something about ourselves?"
"For example?," queried Sam.
"Well, let's take a look at the obituaries in the ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, and both pick out an obituary which we feel is particularly interesting, for whatever reason. Then we wil read parts of the selection, aloud, to one another. You go first."
"OK, I'll pick Martha Clayton Clement, age 53, where it says that she became deaf at the age of three, and subsequently became one of the first students to receive individualized K-12 instruction from a Speech teacher specifically for the hearing impaired. She later joined the Georgia State Patrol as the secoond female license examiner in the State, and was instrumental in establishing the TDD system to assist the hearing impaired in obtaining driver's licenses."
Sam was a little stunned, and remarked, "This means that since she was only 53, that it was only 30 years ago that there were NO women in those positions with the State? For Pete's sake, that was 1976."
Frodo added, "You're right, but think of what preceded her as a deaf person if she was among the very first to get sufficient instruction to allow her to graduate from high school. It probably means that to have been deaf in Georgia was virtually assuring that an individual would be semi-literate, at best."
"Sam, that was after all the great accomplishments of the Civil Rights Movement."
"You know Mr. Frodo, I believe many owe Martha Clayton Clement a debt of thanks."
"I think we all do, Sam."
"Now," said Sam, "Read me about the person you picked."
"I was hung up between two. I liked Mr. Buddy Cawthon, age 80, who was an avid Camellia grower, and Past President of the American Camellia Society. A man who devotes his life to beauty is rare, indeed. However, I was taken by what was written about Mr. Thad Dean LaVance, age 50. It says that he was a well-read and culturally diverse man whose passion for salt-water fishing and culinary excellence was only surpassed by the love he had for his family. His contagious laugh and vivid sense of humor could summon cheer and optimism in an otherwise bleak environment. He is deeply missed."
"Oh Mr. Frodo, how lovely that is. Those closest to him remember him for the laughter he brought into their lives. What a tremendous tribute."
"Is there a point, Sam, you think, to what we've just read?"
Sam thought for a minute about what had been absorbed over the past few minutes. Sam looked at Frodo and said, "If you take these obituaries as important, which we did, then I've learned that much has changed about life in the Shire in just a few short years, and some very ordinary people played a great role in what has taken place. I've also learned that we have lost a lot of the laughter in our lives."
Together Frodo and Sam strolled out into the gardens of the Shire, and looked for shooting stars in the night sky.