LESLIE CRISS: Today a time to celebrate birth and reflect on death

“The holiest of all holidays
are those kept by ourselves
in silence and apart; the
secret anniversaries
of the heart.”
– Henry Wadsworth
Longfellow
“There is no cure for birth and death save to enjoy
the interval.”
– George Santayana

Today is an anniversary of sorts. Actually, it’s a day of bittersweet memories.
On this day seven years ago, little Olivia Morris was born, the baby daughter of friends and co-workers Scott and Michaela Morris.
Olivia’s arrival into this old world is, of course, the sweet part of remembering this day.
On this day five years ago, we at the Daily Journal lost a friend whose very presence lit up the place.
Tony Launius was in his second tour of duty here at the paragraph factory. He worked on the copy desk, designing pages.
He loved it. And he was good at it.
One of the last things Tony designed was a fashion section. It was something of which he was very proud.
He should have been. The section won an award. Sadly, that news came too late for Tony to know about it.
Tony was killed in a car accident in New Albany.
We had our own memorial service here in Tupelo for Tony, and two carloads of us made the trip to Camden, Ark., for his funeral.
I was charged with the care and handling of Tony’s long-haired Daschund until I could turn Tony’s furry best friend over to his grieving parents.
Gus the dog was anxious, to put it mildly. After all, his beloved boy had left his apartment on Sunday afternoon and never returned.
So, who could blame Gus for biting Lloyd Gray while we were on the road to Arkansas?
We were laughing about that incident the other day, Ginna Parsons and I. She said she and her husband had been talking about all the funerals we’d attended while at the Journal.
Their discussion was brought about by the deaths last week of several folks connected to our Journal family, including our friend and former colleague, Suzy O’Neal.
After Suzy’s funeral last Wednesday, Scott Morris said the words spoken by the minister put him in mind of the things said at Tony’s memorial service. That the Journal is a place where all manner of humanity is accepted and appreciated, no matter our individual eccentricities.
We celebrate together when babies are born; we share our sadness when friends die; and we support each other in the in-between times.
Sort of like family.
Happy birthday, Olivia. We miss you, Tony.
Contact Leslie Criss at (662) 678-1584 or leslie.criss@djournal.com.

 

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