Ol’ Chunk of Coal


I am posting a tribute to my father, who would have  been 86 years old last week if cancer had not taken him away from all this, and us.

My father was crusty, cynical, and at times, crude.  But when he was given the diagnosis of cancer and prognosis of death, he began to change.  Although he rarely, if ever, praised his children or told them he loved them, as he grew weaker from the illness, he allowed us to express our love for him, and he in return whispered the same words to us.

His illness changed him from a loud and eccentric man to someone who finally accepted the fact that he was, yes, merely mortal; someone who prayed silently for forgiveness and a smooth transition into afterlife. His pain and suffering smoothed the rough edges away and there–under that crusty, cynical, and crude exterior–was a brilliant, precious man.

I found the lyrics to a country song popular several decades ago.  This song had to have been written for people like my Dad,  if not for Dad himself.

I’M JUST AN OLD CHUNK OF COAL

Hey I’m just an old chunk of coal,

But I’m gonna be a diamond some day,

I’m gonna grow and glow ’til I’m so blue pure perfect,

I’m gonna put a smile on ev’rybody’s face.

I’m gonna kneel and pray ev’ry day,

Lest I should become vain along the way.

I’m just an old chunk of coal now Lord, But I’m gonna be a diamond some day.

I’m gonna learn the best way to walk,

I’m gonna search and find a better way to talk

I’m gonna spit and polish my old rough-edged self,

‘Til I get rid of ev’ry single flaw.

I’m gonna be the world’s best friend,

I’m gonna go ’round shakin’ ev’rybody’s hand

Hey I’m gonna be the cotton-pickin’ rage of the age,

I’m just an old chunk of coal now Lord, But I’m gonna be a diamond some day.

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