Chris had been coming to church for maybe seven or eight months. He lived in a group home with a couple other guys that the church van picks up every week. I'm not sure what it was that got him coming but I do remember being surprised when he actually returned for a second time.
You couldn't miss him. He was tall, towering well over Larry's six foot three frame. But he would have stood taller yet if he'd been able to hold his head up, it just lay to the side which made him look a bit odd. His speech was a bit slurred as well, I'd wondered if maybe he'd had a stroke. I heard rumors of some drug problems in his past, so maybe that had something to do with it. I wish I'd taken time to find out more about him.
Chris wasn't at all shy, and he certainly wasn't afraid to let you know what he wanted. The last thing he ever said to me was that we were out of coffee. I suspect one of the reasons he came was that he liked to eat. He never missed a men's breakfast and took full advantage of the snacks that people brought into our Sunday school class from week to week. One time he cornered me and said he wanted doughnuts the next time he came. I explained that I wasn't scheduled for the following week so it wasn't really up to me. He looked very disappointed.
Chris was different. That wasn't an issue with us, our church is pretty diverse. But he could be overly pushy and demanding and had a way of getting under your skin. Larry's usually pretty good at dealing with people, but Chris had a way of pushing even his buttons. One Saturday during a men's outing, Chris had been particularly annoying, much like a child on a long trip who asks every five minutes if you're there yet. Larry returned home a bit uptight. Yep, Chris had definitely been pushing his buttons.
Part of the problem was that Chris liked to talk, too much. Though I never rode the van with him, I heard his vocabulary could get a bit salty and that especially irked the other guys from the group home who had invited him in the first place. Because he was so talkative, he would ask numerous questions or make comments during Sunday School. Early on, most of what he had to say wasn't even related to the lesson. But as time went on, I noticed that he was starting to stay on point. The last Sunday he was with us, Larry even commended him for an observation that he made. Maybe he was actually starting to get what this Christianity stuff is all about. I hope so.
Larry immediately made contact with the group home to inquire about funeral arrangements. There had been no funeral and Chris was already buried. And when he asked about family, he was informed that Chris didn't have one. A few days later he drove to the cemetery and found the grave site, identified only by the freshly dug dirt. There were no flowers, no marker, no name.
Larry's planning on a small memorial service for Chris in church on a Sunday morning. He's also going to do what he can about checking into some kind of marker for the grave. After all, it's only right that a grave has a name telling who lies there. It's the least one can do.