firm handshake

image courtesy of photobucket.com

We officially met Chuck in North San Diego County last year and I posted the unsettling event that accompanied our encounter. When we’re over in that area each year we attend a small church where we’d seen Chuck  for some years. Although being in close proximity of the sanctuary we had never sat directly behind him… until that fateful Sunday.

He was friendly, during the “greeting” part of the service he turned around and gave me a surprisingly strong handshake. He was a celebrity at the small church, almost everyone came over to shake Chuck’s hand. They were family.

This past Sunday I learned a great deal more about this man named Chuck. Turns out he was a regular at the Encinitas Christmas parade playing the role of Chris Kringle. After all the decades of playing the role he quit when the local government wouldn’t allow him to use the name “Christian”… We learned he was a man of conviction and principles.

We also learned he was inducted into the Horse Shoe Throwers hall of fame. Chuck was interviewed on TV about the induction some years earlier as he explained in the interview the different styles of throwing horse shoes. With each different style Chuck demonstrated he threw ringers. We learned Chuck was athletic… no wonder the strong grip.

The learning of the old guy’s life wasn’t nearly over. We were informed that Chuck was instrumental in getting one of the local parks dedicated as such by the city. We learned Chuck was also a civic leader and activist for good causes and that he wasn’t afraid to stand and fight for what he believed in.

The first post I did about Chuck was sharing a dilemma that involved him. As that fateful service went on, specifically during the pastor’s sermon, a black spider about the size of a quarter crawled out from underneath Chuck’s dark blue wind breaker, up and over around his right shoulder and disappeared under the collar.

I didn’t know what to do, so I didn’t do anything but eventually pray. We learned this particular Sunday that Chuck most likely would have had a different reaction, he would have been resolute on doing what he believed was right regardless of what anyone else thought. We also learned that Chuck was generous. He had his nephew deliver to the church an old tattered envelope with two thousand dollars in it.

In addition we also  learned Chuck had been sick and the church had been praying for their dear friend and brother. We finally learned that Sunday morning in the church service that Chuck had been taken to be with the Lord that Friday morning… They had a picture on the screen taken in Chuck’s younger years… throwing a horseshoe.

Interesting how God can use a man we only shared a firm handshake with once to impact our lives. My guess is the next time I see Chuck…

I’m gonna hear about that spider…