My parents, William Scott and Ruth Anne (Meyer) Kenan at my sister Julie's wedding.
Thank you all for honoring the memory of my father, today.
I cannot be here in person, so first my heart goes out to my mother, and to my sister Jane who has been such a big help and will remain near Mom. I also thank Mike and Julie, and the many friends and neighbors who have all been able to help in ways I have not. And, I thank Dad for showing me the value of persistence and determination, which have been my own saving graces.
I have reflected on my father in many ways, but the story I’d like to tell is from very long ago – years before Dad and I ever met, and I want to thank Judy Russ Whitney, my cousin, for telling the most important part to me. It rang a bell then, so maybe Dad or Aunt Doris told it years ago, too.
Back in the 1920s, before the Great Depression hit, my grandmother died, Grandpa’s cotton and tobacco barns burned, and my grandfather did not have the wherewithal to cope. He took to drink and many enterprises that failed, they having to move once or more per year – within Wilmington and surrounding areas.
Dad told me that he and his younger sister Doris were virtual orphans, and when in the country, often cared for by old black share-cropping women, their walls papered with the colored Sunday funnies. Some of Dad’s stories to us kids came from those women.
And at that same time, the prominent distant Kenan relatives had become some of the wealthiest people on earth, riding the same Wilmington streets in Norma Desmond limousines, while my grandfather’s family were lucky to have shoes – which they sometimes did not.
At the age most children today begin kindergarten, Dad took on the responsibility of raising both himself and Doris, and – ALWAYS the optimist and “can-do-it” guy -- Dad made up songs to cheer little Doris and distract them from their plight.
Is there ANY activity in life more important than to find God in our hearts and create out of thin air a home, a place of Peace and Security, to share with those we love and seek to protect?
Dad had a life-long love of music and dancing – he and Mom won many Jitterbug contests when I was grooving to Rock and Roll -- and they tried in vain to teach me those steps. I’ve never felt more like a klutz.
When I think of Dad, now, I see him dancing and singing -- having discarded his worn-out old body – showing off as he waits for my mother to sachet in beside him, so they can WOW the Heavenly Hosts.
But not yet . . . not yet . . .