Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner

Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner
Blue Ridge Smoky Mountains

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Day 291 - The Masters

One year ago, we were blessed with being able to go to the Masters, an event that isn't bought or won in a lottery.  It just doesn't happen for people like me.  But through the kindness of a man that was once part of General Patton's beloved men, an opportunity of a lifetime was mine to be thankful for.  And boy am I thankful. John Clements was in his nineties last year and was one of our last living WWII vets.  He didn't know me, but he knew my friend.  My friend was also blessed with knowing John and was able to "feel like he won the lottery" when he was invited to attend The Masters due to John's generosity (as well as the generosity of his wife Carol who housed and fed us all). John took great pride in knowing he had allowed the less fortunate in  life to share in his love of golf and his long tradition of purchasing the tickets in the 60's when it was possible to purchase the tickets.  If you are not a golf lover, you don't know, you can't BUY them, you can't WIN them, you have to know somebody who LOVES you enough to share them with you.

John didn't know me, but with God's permission, I'll say that he loved me enough to share a lifetime experience that nobody else will ever give me.  He welcomed us, he let us stay in his home, he gave us the use of his house to shower and eat, and he drove us to the Augusta National Golf Course and picked us up.  Twice my age and twice my energy, he took pride and smiled upon my return to hear about my experience.

I'm amazed that a human can love another person without obligation or purpose that much without knowing them.  Our families don't receive this kind of love on occasions.  Nor do we give this kind of love to our own blood family relatives on occasion.  I read a poem by Rumi and it made me think of John as I watch the Masters on the television....

THROUGH LOVE all that is bitter will sweet
Through Love all that is copper will be gold.
Through Love all dregs will turn to purest wine
Through Love all pain will turn to medicine.
Through Love the dead will all become alive.
Through Love the king will turn into a slave!

The line that reads: Through Love all pain will turn to medicine, is the one that sticks out for me now.  You see John was in a car accident a few months ago and although he lived through the war and lived through ninety plus years of life, his injuries wouldn't allow him to outlive the car crash that he was in recently.  So the pain that comes from missing a man that gave me more kindness than my own father gave me is not quite medicinal yet.  But in time, the love will cure the pain like chemotherapy cures cancer....killing the pain directly and allowing the cells to regain their strength.  I imagine the only way to do that is to show that kind of kindness to others we don't know.  And when I do, I'll do it in memory of John Clements.

As we hear the bluejays and cardinals chirping on the twelfth  hole, we see the pink azaleas blooming on the thirteenth hole, and we feel the breeze that is making the yellow flags atop the poles flap, we will hear, see and feel John's presence in our hearts...changed forever because a man cared enough to open up his home, his life and his heart to those of us who would otherwise never know him.


Entered into rest Thursday, October 13, 2011, MAJ John P. Clements (US Army Retired), 92, loving husband of Carol Harley Clements. MAJ Clements was a native of Macon, GA and resided in Augusta since 1963. He was a member of Trinity on the Hill United Methodist Church for over 40 years and the Dr. Robert Taylor Bible Class. MAJ Clements retired from the U.S. Army 2nd Armored Division and retired from the U.S. Postal Service after 25 years of service. He was a founding member of the Clembake Golf Group, a member of the GA Sr. Golfers Association and Forest Hills Golf Club. MAJ Clements was a member of the Retired Officers Association (MOAA), 2nd Armored Division Life Member, and 82nd RCN BN Association member. He was also a member of the John S. Davidson Masonic Lodge no. 677, and the Sojourners. Family members in addition to his wife include son: Charles Finch (Patricia) of Clinton, MS; grandchildren: David Finch, Jeff Finch (Sharon); great grandchildren: Laura, Austin, Trey, Amy, Sarah, and Patrick Finch. He was predeceased by his great granddaughter, Elizabeth Finch. Funeral services will be held Today, October 15, 2011 at 2:00 P.M. at Trinity on the Hill United Methodist Church with Rev. Dan Brown and Pastor Charles Finch officiating. Interment will follow at Westover Memorial Park. Honorary Pallbearers will be the Dr. Robert Taylor Bible Class and Clembake Golf Group. In lieu of flowers, charitable contributions may be made to the Nehemiah Project at Trinity on the Hill UMC, 1330 Monte Sano Ave., Augusta, GA 30904

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