In Memory

INMEMORY JIM GARON COONE Jan. 27, 1938-June 11, 2012Dear Pop, Today you would have turned 75. Your birthday is a full nine months to the day before mine. We used to joke about that.Your father left you behind when you were just a baby. Still, you were able not only to graduate from college, but also to go on and become a successful college teacher, football coach, and mentor of young people. But the loss of your father left a hole in you. When I was a child, you would run five miles every night, five times around our neighborhood, five grueling times up the same steep hill that seemed to get steeper with each loop. In the summer you sweated; in the winter icicles grew on your beard. Each step was a step to outrun the weight you could not keep off; each step, a step to outrun fear, abandonment, the words in anger you could never say to your father. But you had another Father. As you ran in the quiet of the night, stray dogs barking somewhere off in the distance, you recited the Lord's Prayer and whispered Bible verses to yourself, over and over. I can hear the verses in your head, pummeled out with each footfall. Romans 8: 28: "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Romans 8: 38-39: "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God." 1 Corinthians 9: 24: "Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain." There came a day when you couldn't run, couldn't walk. You were in the hospice unit, confused and wanting to go home. In the middle of the night, I read to you Psalm 23, "The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters.He restoreth my soul:He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His names sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: For thou art with me; Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever."I wish you could be here for your 75th, Pop, but I know you are through the valley now; you have run your race. Mama and I love and miss you. Cathy and Mama

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