This past week, I’ve thought a lot about my brother. I’ve remembered wild stunts, crazy stories, long lost friends and enemies, and I’ve finally gotten the back story on so many jokes. But I sadly realized just how little I really knew about my own brother. We had our rough patches growing up. It’s inevitable when you are as close as we were. But as we got older, the petty childhood bickering faded into the past, and we would talk more. Never about anything serious or deep, just about day to day life and our kids. We would talk for hours about nothing at all, but somehow the conversation would always get back to his girls.
Cal loved children, especially his girls. They are his pride and joy. The true loves of his life, and he would do anything for them. The last time I went to see him, he showed me a playhouse he had built for Gabby. It was wonderful! It had real windows, a light inside, and a little covered porch. It was a masterpiece and a perfect example of his talent. He had built it from scraps of this and leftovers of that. Gabby was so proud of the little house that her daddy had built, she couldn’t wait to show it off. That was one thing she definitely got from her daddy, Pride.
Cal was always so proud of his family and friends. He loved everyone, and it was almost impossible not to love him back. Don’t get me wrong. There were times when you really weren’t happy with him, but you always loved him, and you knew that he always loved you too. He was always ready with a good strong hug. A “Love ya, Sis.” Mum says he always gave the best hugs, and it’s true. He could have taught a class on it. They were always just right.
Though we talked now and then on the phone, it was always in the back of my mind, “I should call Cal and see what he’s up to,” but it would get put off. There were errands to run, chores to do. My regret is that I didn’t make the time to call my little brother more often, just to say “Hi”. I let life get in the way.
Last week things changed. Priorities were shifted. Despite the prayers of thousands, God felt it was time for Calvin to come home. Friday morning he slipped peacefully through the gates into the arms of loved ones who had gone before him. They will be catching up on all those wonderful hugs that I'm sure they missed.
I know the full reality of this has not hit me yet. It may not for a while. But I also know that someday I too will pass through those gates, as we all will, and Cal will be there, arms open, ready to give me one of his wonderful hugs.
Calvin William Allen Skinner
August 11, 1980-April 17, 2009
Friday, July 17, 2009
The following is my speech from Calvin’s funeral. A few things to keep in mind, I do not do public speaking because I tend to get nose bleeds then throw up. My Mum told me I could not cry because she could not handle it. I managed to make it through the entire thing without as much as a single tear, drop of blood, or even so much as a gag and I did not once loose consciousness (that I know of).