I just heard today about Larry's death. I am so sorry that I missed his funeral and a chance to meet his family. I met Larry several years ago. He loved to dance and served on the Dance Committee for the Singles Ministry at Memorial Drive UMC. He was such a gentleman and such a good person. The world was blessed to have him while he was here. My prayers are with his family and friends, especially now during the holidays, as they grieve their loss.
My dad was faithful to God and very spiritual. He had a small crucifix, lit a small candle and he whispered his prayers in the darkness of dawn every morning. However, it was a chore getting my dad to go to church. The last time we went together was around 1/7/2007, the year my birthday fell on a Sunday. It was his birthday gift to me – it was all I wanted and seemed like almost too much for him to give. He dressed in an old polo shirt. I didn't care and neither did he. I was just filled with happiness when he joined me. Last night I went to the 5pm Mass and sat at the opposite side of the church than I usually do. A crazy coincidence happened. An obese Hispanic man with a clean but wrinkled polo shirt waddled up and sat 2 pews ahead of me. The man had several gestures and facial features that were similar to my dad. He had the same skin tone and thick black and grey hair. From behind, this man looked very much like my father when he was in his early to mid 50s. It was torture and I cried alot. Even more of a coincidence, I asked the usher who the man was and he replied, "Oh that's Larry. He's a real good guy. Very funny and always nice to talk to." This made me cry some more. What a coincidence. God Bless you Larry and I hope to see you in church again.
There were special foods my dad prepared that everyone loved. Everyone who knows my dad well has had his pancakes "hot off the griddle", his spaghetti, Thanksgiving Turkey with stuffing and he also made the most delicious sandwiches that had to be smashed down so they would fit in your mouth. They also heard his meal mantra, “Have you had enough to eat? Because no one walks away hungry from the Allen table.” I’m not sure everyone watched the meticulous care he took in preparing these meals. For example, the pancakes were ordinary - they came from a box but the mix can’t get the credit nor can anyone replicate his pancakes. My dad precisely measured all the ingredients, the mix had to be a certain temperature and he timed when the batter hit the "griddle" and watched for the time that the pancakes needed to be flipped. He took special care of things like oiling the flat pan with butter before he put the pancakes on and with oil after he finished cooking. Of course, he saw me watching him and gave a lecture on how important it was to take care of your tools so they would be in top shape and ready to perform when you needed them. He repeated this every time. He was so funny and predictable. I love him so much and hope I never forget all his wisdom and goodness.
When I lived with my dad we hung out all of the time (This was about 20 years ago). He would trick me into spending the entire day with him. There may have been 1 or 2 errands I wanted to run with him but I ended up spending the entire day running all errands. It was always fun because everywhere we stopped people knew my dad - especially store clerks. They would see him coming and greet him with a smile and have whatever it was ready for him. My dad and I stopped at curious places just to check them out. My dad knew all of the kewlest places in town that no one else seemed to know about. Around 4 or 5 years ago he said, "There is a place I'd like to show you." And we went on an adventure, just like the old days. He showed me a huge Buddhist Temple that was close to UofH. It was a magnificent temple in the middle of the chaos of South East Houston. I'm not sure how he found out about all of these places. Especially back when their was no internet. He was always stimulating the mind with fun adventures. Ever since I moved away from home I missed those adventures with dad. I'll try to keep up the old tradition dad. I miss you so much. I miss the young able bodied dad and am sorry that I wimped out on you when the diabetes, heart trouble and especially when the lymphodema took over. I hated watching you suffer and am glad you are free from that now.
My dad always gave any spare change he had to the homeless. He would go up to them, ask them their name and then say, "Joe, this isn't much but I'd like to give you this." I believe that his respect for the under-served helped far more than his pocket change. If I was there to witness my dad would always tell me the same thing, "You must help out the poor because that person you see on the street could just as easily be you. That person more than likely had a job and a family. Its a terrible thing to have lost everything." He also would say, "I don't have much but I am very blessed to have a roof over my head and food to eat." He was greatly comforted by giving to the poor. I'll never forget his words of wisdom and his depth as a person.