Monday, October 8, 2012

Lehigh University

Last weekend I went to a dedication in Kenny's honor at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania where he graduated from college. The college is old and grand and very much "East Coast".  Kenny was not only tremendously smart, but he was also highly athletic and played two varsity sports throughout and track and field. He broke the decathlon record back in 1983 and it has never been broken since. His Chi Psi brothers had decided to raise money for a new "Ken Jones Records Board" to be placed in the newly refurbished indoor track and field house....a board which would display all the records which Lehigh held in track and field.  The dedication and ribbon cutting of the new field house and the display of the new records board was last weekend, and I, along with another two hundred people attended. His family was there, fraternity brothers, friends, coaches, etc.

It was a crisp fall morning, and before the ribbon cutting a brunch was held in the outdoor pavilion. As I was walking up I felt the emotion rising, I felt the tears wanting to come full force. This was for "him". This gathering of people, this festive yet somewhat somber event. I found his mother in whom I had not seen since Kenny's memorial service although I talk with her often on the phone. His sister, niece, and friends that I had met before. It was good to be there in the company of people who knew my Kenny and loved him dearly. From there we went to the door of the new field house where I, along with his old coach and a fraternity brother cut the ribbon. We filed into the large building and gathered under the huge records board. There we had a short presentation and words were spoken about Kenny. Next to the board off to the side, was a smaller board with a picture of Kenny, date of birth and death, and a bio of his life. What an accomplished man he was.

From there we went to the early afternoon Lehigh football game and then on to Kenny's old frat house for a reception party. It was here that I mingled among his old fraternity brothers and their wives, most of whom I had met before. His sister had thrown a party with all of them just days before Kenny had to move into his wheelchair, so my first meeting with all of them was then. I loved hearing story after story about him that I had not heard before....still getting to know my Kenny. "It's not because he is gone from us that we say all these wonderful things about him....he was truly wonderful and humble even back then and we really, really loved him", was the gist of many conversations.

It was great being there. And the tearful emotion that overtook me in the beginning had moved on to a joyful, happy, and heartwarming emotion. I felt proud that I had known this man. And not only did I know him, but I was loved by him. This man with all his amazing accomplishments and great successes in life had chosen me to be his life partner. Someone said to me, and I can't remember who, that of all the great things Kenny had in this life, I was what mattered most to him. I actually really do believe that....because he told me so himself.

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