Ad Notem, In Memoriam.
Posted by Exile on June 26, 2012
At 8,33 on Sunday evening, June 24, 2012 a very dear and old friend passed away. Another victim of the filthy disease we all know as cancer. Ken had fought bravely against it for over two years, first as Leukemia, later as a cancerous infection of his nervous system and, finally, a tumour in his brain for which nothing could be done. I, and many others like me, have become the poorer for his passing. My thoughts go to his family and to his wife, Lynn, whom I never had the pleasure of meeting and yet know, that she must be devastated far beyond what I now feel.
Ken was a big lad. Taller and broader than I and strong as an ox. We all knew him as "Horse", mainly because of his stature and strength. If something heavy needed moving, you turned to him first. The man could move mountains if asked to do so. His character was equally as strong. I never heard him whine or moan once, no matter how adverse the situation and although we did hear him complain once or twice it was always justified and never without good reason. Usually, the big man would take it all with a smile and just get on with the task at hand.
I went off to find some piece of poetry that might take the sting out of writing this but realised that Ken probably wouldn’t have appreciated that particular gesture. He knew a few good rugby songs and could rattle off the odd limerick, but poetry? No. So I found this quotation concerning the nature of horses and thought that it may suffice.
Where in all the world is nobility found without conceit?
Where is there friendship without envy?
Where is beauty without vanity?
Here one finds gracefulness coupled with power,
and strength tempered with gentleness.
A constant servant, yet no slave.
A fighter, ever without hostility.
Our history was written on his back.
We are his heirs.
But he is his own heritage. The Horse.
H. H. Eisenbart
in Eisenbart and Buhrer:
The Kingdom of the Horse
Let’s look at this.
Nobility without conceit. One could never have called Ken conceited. He rarely spoke of himself unless asked but always concerned himself with the welfare of his friends and colleagues. If anything is to be said, then let it be that therein lies the nobility in the man. He cared. And that is noble indeed.
Friendship without envy. Always. If anything good happened to you, Ken would be the first to offer congratulations. It was always "Well done, good for you." It could have been his motto.
Beauty without vanity. I don’t think any one of us would describe Ken as having been beautiful at any point, but nor was he vain. In fact that was the beauty in him. His character did not support vanity. Pride in himself maybe, but vanity was never on the field.
Gracefulness coupled with power, strength tempered with gentleness. Ken was never going to be graceful. Just as a bull dancing ballet is never going to be graceful. And yet he graced us all by simply being among us and lending himself to whatever we were involved in or occupied with. Equally, all the strength and power of this man was never used in a violent way. Ken used his size to keep the peace. That solid glare and the calm yet demanding inference of intervention was usually enough to stop anything untoward happening in his presence. Ken would not tolerate bullying. Truly, the gentle giant. Even when involved in our mischief, he was always the one to see to it, that no matter what the jibe or jape, no-one actually got hurt.
A constant servant, yet no slave. Constant in that he was reliable. Ask the man for help, you would be sure of getting it. And yet, like most horses, you could lead him to water, but you couldn’t make him drink. (Leading him to beer would be another proposition entirely, but I’m sure you catch the drift of this.)
A fighter, ever without hostility. Truer words never spoken. Ken fought like a demon against the disease which finally claimed his life and he did so without bitterness. I never heard him use the word hate in its true context and a fairer and less hostile man never walked this earth.
Our history was written on his back. Yep. He carried a few of us on those enormous shoulders at one time or another. Both physically and mentally.
We are his heirs. Yes we are. What he gave to us will remain with us until we meet with him again.
He is his own heritage. Indeed he is. There will never be another like him and we shall speak of him for many years to come and be proud to say that we knew him. This world is a sadder place for his passing but he will always be there, in our hearts and minds, as long as we draw breath.
His most simple testimony must be, that there are few people in this world that can say that they had over a hundred people that would call them friend. We who knew him, soldiered with him and held him dear will sorely miss him. It was my, our, pleasure and an absolute honour to have known you and to have served with you those many years ago.
Rest in peace Ken, you old Horse. You earned it.