Clovis riding to finish line

Arnold Dyre

Commentary By Arnold Dyre

   On Monday with old Clovis, I watched most of the regional championship baseball game between Ole Miss and Washington.  
   The game started at 2 p.m. and, due to rain delays and an extra inning, it was around 8 p.m. and past Clovis’ bedtime before it was completed.  Ole Miss, undefeated in the regional playoffs, actually had two shots at the championship but, fortunately, only needed one.  
   While it was comforting to Clovis and me that our team would still have another shot, we were mighty grateful that the Rebels wrapped it up without the necessity of another game.  It was a close call!
   It seems that everything is coming down to the wire with my old friend Clovis.  
   On Monday, when I got out to his apartment at Sunnybrook Retirement Estates, I discovered that he had substituted a wheelchair for his walker.  Clovis explained, “Hell, my legs are shot! I can still stand up, but I wear out trying to walk. I’ve decided to ride to the finish line!”
   Clovis full well knows that his time is short. He says that he is curious to see what is “over the hill.”
   While still smart and articulate, Clovis’ standard reply to any inquiry about his status is, “I’m not worth a damn!”
   By the time this article makes it to the newspaper on Friday, Clovis will be just 10 days shy of being 98 years old. He very convincingly declares that, if anyone tries to give him a birthday party, he will leave; however, his sitter and I have plans for a cake.  We have thought about putting 98 candles on it, but Beverly has advised that the frosting will melt and the cake will burn up before we can get all 98 candles lit.
   I think it is fine that Clovis has decided to ride the rest of his race.  
   What a race he has run! The walls of his apartment are covered with photographs of Clovis with Presidents, Senators and Governors — along with a whole lot of Ole Miss stuff.  
   He has a small framed photograph of his wife Helen when she was young and very pretty. He keeps that one close to him and turned where he can see it from wherever he is in the apartment.   
   Over in one corner of the room, his medals and ribbons from the War are displayed next to a young Clovis in uniform.  Clovis has no idea at all that he is a hero.
   As Clovis rolls along in his wheelchair down the home stretch, he does not dwell on the past. He is aware of the present.  
   Clovis takes pleasure in watching the clouds and, though he remembers flying with them, his thoughts are of where they are going now.
   He wonders if he will see another Ole Miss football game. He wonders if he will be able to see an Ole Miss game after he is gone on to whatever God has planned for him.  
   Clovis prays every night. His prayers are those of thanks and asking for the Lord’s protection and blessings upon this country that Clovis loves and has served. He prays for his friends and others. He tells me that he prays for Beverly and me.
   Clovis’ birthday is June 16. He likes to get mail. If you want to send him a birthday card, his address is 248 Locust Lane, Apt. 335, Madison, MS 39110.

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