Tim Russert, of NBC News, wrote a book about his father, whom he called Big Russ. The book is about his relationship with his father, who was quite representative of blue-collar workers in an era of a generation ago.
The book generated considerable interest, and as a result Tim Russert received thousands of emails and letters from people telling of their relationship with their fathers. One of the most poignant letters came from a man who wrote about something he learned from his father when he was eleven years old.
They were walking on the Upper West Side of Manhattan when they stopped in front of a funeral chapel. They were talking about baseball and other things of interest to an eleven-year-old boy, when his father asked what was happening as people were filing into the chapel. The boy said, "Why, they are going to a funeral."
They kept talking, lingering in the same spot, and were still in front of the chapel when people began to file out. Again the father asked the son what was happening, and the boy replied that the same people were now leaving the chapel. Then the father asked if he was aware of the time—people had been in the chapel for about twenty minutes. “What happened in the chapel was that someone’s life was summarized in twenty minutes,” the father said.
The son never forgot the lesson that day, that a person’s lifetime, all his years and experiences, is summed up in about twenty minutes.
Something to think about.