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Michael’s Chimes

This is a story about Michael, a dear friend who recently passed. I told this story during his funeral service.

First, some housekeeping

If you are the owner of a small, green SUV with out-of-state plates – You may have gently bumped and dented Michael’s car.

So – over the last few days if you’ve been experiencing some strange things going on in your house:

  • Bumps in the night
  • Missing keys
  • Books removed from their shelves and stacked into vertical pillars
  • Or an unexpected toilet flush during your shower

Now you know why.


Wind Chimes, CC

Photo by Mark Larson

Larry and Mike, Mike and Larry – a few years ago they gave my wife and I a gift of wind chimes. We let them sit there on the shelf for a year before I could track down the proper mounting hook that would allow us to put them outside our bedroom window. I finally found the hook a couple years ago and now they chime for us if the wind is just so.

In the middle of the night last night the wind was perfect.
I woke up to the sound of it tapping away a melody on the chimes. The wind on the chimes told me how to write this story.

At first their music reminded me of our wedding.

Thirteen years ago we managed to coax Mike and Larry to recite poetry at our wedding. It was at the end of our ceremony. The two boys got up and Michael took the microphone in his hand while Larry held the paper upon which the poem was printed.

It was titled Love, written by Roy Croft. It had six verses, and they were to alternate reading each verse.

I love you,
Not only for what you are,
But for what I am
When I am with you.

I love you,
Not only for what
You have made of yourself,
But for what
You are making of me.

I love you
For the part of me
That you bring out;
I love you
For putting your hand
Into my heaped-up heart
And passing over
All the foolish, weak things
That you can’t help
Dimly seeing there,
And for drawing out
Into the light
All the beautiful belongings
That no one else had looked
Quite far enough to find.

I love you because you
Are helping me to make
Of the lumber of my life
Not a tavern
But a temple;
Out of the works
Of my every day
Not a reproach
But a song.

I love you
Because you have done
More than any creed
Could have done
To make me good,
And more than any fate
Could have done
To make me happy.

You have done it
Without a touch,
Without a word,
Without a sign.
You have done it
By being yourself.
Perhaps that is what
Being a friend means,
After All

As they read this poem the microphone began to shake in Michael’s hand. First it was a small tremor. And it grew little by little as each verse was recited. By the final verse the tiny colony of microphone lint was experiencing a 7.2 earthquake.


The chimes went on from the ceremony to the reception where we ate and danced. And Michael met my aunt Carol. And they danced and danced.

Having only met Michael once, 13 years ago, my aunt Carol asks about him every time I see her. Having only met Michael once, she will miss him.

Dealing with Life

The chimes then did something unexpected. With perfect pitch and timing they played the first four notes of the Star Trek theme song. – Of course they did because I said they did.

Captain Kirk once said: How we deal with death is at least as important as how we deal with life. Based on the outpouring of attention, flowers, and companionship we can see that love is prevailing in both.

In the house yesterday I imagined Michael as a giant, like the ones the enterprise crew would face every third or fourth episode. This enormous man, 4-stories tall, was crouched down by the house with his arms wrapped around it. He was smiling at us – and sticking his finger through the window to bump someone just enough to spill their wine. And he laughed, because it was funny.

I think I will keep that vision of Michael. It’s comforting to know that he’s still there, his mischievous self, hugging the homes of his loved ones – and, occasionally, blowing on the wind chimes.

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