Thursday, August 14, 2014


I got a call this afternoon that my cousin Dan Carlton died this afternoon.  Danny is finally, completely and eternally healed.  He is in the presence of our Glorious God and our Saviour, Jesus Christ.  He is reunited with his parents, our grandparents, and many other family members and close friends.  Most importantly, God who began a good work in him was faithful to bring it to completion.  This afternoon Danny got to feel the arms of our God wrap around him, and heard his voice telling him, "Well done, my son!"

In honor of Danny.

Not everyone is blessed with cousins.  Some folks don't even have any cousins.  My son's generation in our family has an abundance of cousins, and in general they are pretty close both physically and emotionally.  My son is an only child, so for him to have "big brother" cousins has been a huge blessing in his life.

In my generation of my family we have four cousins on my Mom's side, and twelve on my Dad's side.  My Mom's sister and her children lived in New England, so we spent very little time with them.  My Dad's family on the other hand, mostly lived close and extended family get-togethers were frequent.  We would usually all meet in Weaverville, NC (a wonderful Mayberry-like town when we were growing up).  Grandaddy and Granny lived just down the street and around the corner from Uncle Glen and Aunt Janet and their amazing Victorian house with a REAL stained-glass window ~ and later a REAL swimming pool (!), so we would take over the houses and porches and streets and sidewalks and spend time with each other.  One of my cousin Scott's favorite past-times was scaring the girls with his pet boa constrictor.  Sometimes we would go to Dillingham and converge on Uncle Dan and Aunt Virginia's beautiful stone house.  They lived next door to Uncle Dan's church and there was lots of room to play. 

We stayed in contact through our college years.  My sister Nancy shared a dorm suite with our cousin Janet Lee when they were at Furman together.  I'll never forget my cousin Danny's adventure.  He and a friend decided to ride their bikes from North Carolina to Key West, Florida!  Quite the adventure, and they had some interesting tales to tell about it.  Since we were living in Miami at that time, they came and stayed with us for a night or two.  We did all learn that the police down there did not really appreciate having bikes on the old 7-mile bridge!

We've tried to be there for each other during the hard times.  Car wrecks, heart attacks, strokes, and cancer have all taken their toll on our extended family in both my Dad's generation and in mine.

Right now there is a cancer battle going on, and that brings me to the point of this post.  My cousin Danny has been battling brain cancer for some time now.  He had a resurgence of it in June of this year.  Danny is a man of God.  His faith is solid.  I'll never forget his conversation with my Dad right after his father's unexpected death of a heart attack on Christmas Eve.  His words as he and Dad talked on the phone that night before we all left to drive to North Carolina were, "Uncle Gordon, isn't it great that Dad gets to spend Christmas in Heaven this year?!"

Danny is celebrating today.  Please remember his dear wife Jody and his sisters Elizabeth, Janet and Gigi as they gather to celebrate his life. 

Thank you.

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