Trout Republic-All you can do is smile back

If you are a movie fan certain lines from them always seem to stick with us. One that stuck with me is from Gladiator.
Maximus, the main character, in the penultimate scene of the movie says, “I knew a man who once said, ‘Death smiles at us all. All a man can do is smile back.’”
And, boy isn’t that the truth.
The older a person gets the more true that adage seems to be. For those of us blessed enough to see our parents live to an old age there still comes a time of parting from this old world for every soul. And we mourn and miss each and every one of them almost daily.
No matter how long a person is given on this earth it still does not seem to be enough for their loved ones they leave behind.  
Last week I lost a friend to the great journey ahead and even though he had moved away from the San Luis Valley and our paths didn’t cross much, he is still missed. Just knowing someone is gone forever makes life seem dimmer.
Derrick Haskins came to South Fork from Ireland via a lot of different places to pastor at the Chapel of the South Fork. I got to know him since I was forced to sing in the choir by my mother, the director of said venue.
Derrick and I stood next to each other in the choir— always laughing and joking— while we tried to bring our Irish and Scottish tenor voices into some semblance of order and beauty.
We had decided to not let old blood feuds between ancestors some 1,200 years ago come between us and I treated him as a friend more than a pastor.
Oftentimes pastors are revered to the point that they have no friends and no one to razz them or give them a hard time, which among men is a rite of passage.
Ol’ Dutch didn’t let Derrick’s position stand in the way of teasing him heavily and I even did my best to mimic his deep Irish accent whenever I could.
Now I must admit my attempt at an Irish accent sounds a bit like a cross between a drunk Irish priest and a vagabond German Gypsy snake oil salesmen but it did fool several people at the roast we had when Derrick retired.
Miss Trixie and I wrote up quite a program with music and special remembrances about Derrick and I did my best to imitate him the entire show. Several people thought I was his long lost cousin come to pay homage to his service to South Fork.
Of course they may have had a few drinks before arrival at the show to jade their point of view, too, as not a few old ladies around still carry a flask hidden in those massive purses beside the pepper spray and handguns.
Derrick did his very best as a pastor to help everyone and as you know that is an impossible task and not without a lot of heartache. Keeping care of the flock is hard work and no good deed goes unpunished as they say.
If you have ever been around sheep you know how they can get lost and have to be constantly tended to and a pastor finds himself in that position morning, noon and night.
So, this week, Ol’ Dutch leaves my normal routine of finding life funny to, instead, pay tribute to a life well lived.
Derrick, old friend, you gave so much of yourself so that others could live better.
You taught us to look not at the temporal things of this world but to look to the eternal God who created all that is and who keeps us even in death.
And I know that upon your arrival in that heavenly place, your entrance was heralded with great fanfare and God, himself, said, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”
If there is any justice, your days are now filled with apple pies that never pack on the pounds, trout as long as your arm and angels who never tire of hearing you sing, “Danny Boy.” You are missed here on earth.

Kevin Kirkpatrick and his Yorkie, Cooper, fish, hunt, ATV or hike daily. His email is [email protected] Additional news can be found at or on Twitter at TroutRepublic.

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