He was a Kentuckian with a Texas drawl acquired by forty years of life in The Lone Star State. He was sparse and deliberate with words, and they seemed to occupy space longer than normal before slowly dispersing like smoke. He wore jeans and flannel shirts and caps and boots and Buddy Holly glasses. He always sported a beard that articulated a certain symmetry of being. He wasn’t religious, but he was spiritual. Folks usually conflate the terms, but one can exist without the other. And in today’s volatile and turbulent days, when at times we can’t tell a Christian from a non-Christian, much could have been learned from a man who seemed to live life in peace and harmony with those around him.
I remember the first time I met him and within five minutes of exchanging a few words, I liked him. I felt a kinship and thought, “A man after my own heart.” He lived life as he saw fit; and in many ways, he saw this crazy world as I did. We had many things in common like being the eldest son and being honored with our father’s names and being passionate about the Cowboys and loving our families.
His siblings said he was a gentle soul and as they reminisced they couldn’t remember conflict or confrontation with him. I found it amazing, but believable. Time seemed to slow down with Owen. He lived life a second at a time and enjoyed the moment. He never worried family or friends with problems and never asked anything of anyone, and he cared less about keeping up with the Joneses. He was content with the essentials. He was who he was and made no excuses for it.
In the end, maybe that’s what moved me the most, his simple ways and the beauty in the way he embraced his life. And as birds began their morning song and the sun broke in the east, an old time gospel echoed in my mind, “There will be peace in the valley... There’ll be no sadness, no sorrow.” Unabashedly, I wept. I mourned a man who lived life in his own terms and left us way too soon. He will be greatly missed by his mom, brothers and sisters, and friends.
May the Creator be the guiding light on your final journey, Big O. I will miss you. Adios amigo...