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Good Friday Today

Raoul’s Two Cents: April 15, 2022

Sad Good Friday

WARNING: Spiritual Content. As is our tradition, no Jokes today.

I couldn’t figure out why it’s been a very sad week for me. I’ve shared this gloom with a few friends. It’s a sadness that I could almost touch.

One reason for my sadness is Oswald. He’s a good friend who is losing his apartment at the end of the month.  He was wrongfully terminated and since that time (over 7 years ago) he has slowly depleted all of his savings. He’s emotionally paralyzed and cannot get a job. He stubbornly insists that God will pull him through. How do you help someone like him?

Another reason for my sadness is Don. The first time I laid eyes on Don I saw a stocky grandfather whom I imagined traveled the world and back. There was this air of confidence … that smirk and a glint in his eye that preceded the joke or a pearl of wisdom he was about to share. You knew he had so many stories to share. No cultural barriers or pretensions with this guy — he was the real deal. He married Ofelia, a lovely Hispanic grand lady with a questioning smile. They were quite a duo … did everything together.

I learned something new with every conversation I had with Don. He was among the first batch of the US Navy SEALs specially trained to endure physical pain, maneuver all kinds of terrain and ready for special covert assignments. He was the scuba demolition expert. In 1962, he and his buddies had secretly landed in Cuba and waited for instructions.  President John F. Kennedy’s nuclear rivalry with Secretary Khrushchev terrified the world. If Russia did not back down, Don had orders to start the first wave of attack and start World War III. Fortunately, cool heads prevented a disaster.

When the crew of the Apollo 11 splashed down in the ocean Southwest of Hawaii after the successful trip to the moon, Don was on the raft sent out to meet the space heroes.

If you look at the videos, you will see Don opening the hatch of the capsule — freeing Neal Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins from their cramped sardine accommodation. Don shared with me what very few people know — that capsule stunk to high heaven. Those astronauts breathed the same air for over 8 days. The body odor swirled around the shared supply of oxygen. But don’t feel too sorry for the astronauts because they say only the first few hours were the hardest because the olfactory senses deaden quickly.

I enjoyed his company because Don and Ofelia shared my interest in painting, photography, gemstones, guitar and family. In the last 3 years, he slowed down considerably. He’d been going in and out of the hospital. I could see the energy inside him hankered down by the confines of his earthly body. 

Don, this amazing war hero, was also a tax preparer. Last week I chatted with him and Ofelia and he was processing several tax returns. Ofelia told him they didn’t need the money but Don, the true soldier that he was, insisted this would be the last year of helping his friends. Last Tuesday, I got a text that Officer Don Warthen had passed away. The news hit me hard. I bowed down and prayed. One deep loss for Ofelia … one giant loss for mankind. (click here to see pictures of Don in action)

Some of my family members are going through very difficult emotional times. Too sensitive for me to share but this is dragging me down the most.

I was so busy, I didn’t realize  it was Good Friday until I started writing this TGIF edition. It makes sense now why this has been one of the saddest weeks for me. No TGIF jokes today.

Imagine it is year 33 AD. Early morning today, Judas betrayed his master with a kiss for a paltry sum of 30 pieces of silver (the exact price paid to the master of a slave if and when his slave was gored by an ox [Exodus 21:32]). Today Christ allowed Himself to be ridiculed, tortured and hung on a cross. Today Christ was buried just before dawn. This is today.

But wait till Sunday comes. It’s going to be epic. You know what I mean. If not, visit your local church this Sunday. No need for an invitation. Just walk in. Observe and ask questions. I’m sure many would love to explain the significance of today.

It’s a sad day but thank God for Good Friday. Because of what Christ did today, all our days in heaven will be joyful and glorious.

Blessings to you all.

Raoul

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10 Comments

  1. Heather

    April 15, 2022 at 12:59 pm

    Raoul:
    I’m so sorry about the lose of your dear friend. Many, many people are mourning this loss. He left a huge footprint on many peoples heart. I would have loved knowing him. The stories he could tell could be an amazing movie for sure. Many people come into our lives and some of them will never leave your memory banks and Don was one of them. My heart aches for you my sweet friend.

    Heather

    Reply

  2. Tom

    April 15, 2022 at 1:00 pm

    Thanks Raoul, your comments on the Day are well taken. People ask me if I am sad on this day. I am sad for those that did not recognize what Jesus was about. Without today we would not have Easter Sunday and that would be worse. Happy Easter to you and yours as we celebrate on Sunday the Resurrection.

    Tom of Pasadena

    Reply

  3. Audrey

    April 15, 2022 at 1:01 pm

    I’m sorry for your loss of your friend, Don. I will pray for all the people that loved him. I will pray for Oswald that he get his ‘mojo’ back. Find his zest for life.

    I will pray for your family that is going through hard times. I pray for the world always, I will make special intentions for you and your burdens, Raoul.

    God bless!

    Audrey

    Reply

  4. Melanie

    April 15, 2022 at 1:02 pm

    Raoul!

    O my goodness!

    Ophelia was in the RE biz when I first started with my dad. They were great people and always had a good time with them at real estate events.

    Thank you for sharing this. I had NO IDEA of Don’s ‘other life’. Dad would have loved to know this, too. So now he is gone from Ophelia; I ache for and with her.

    And yes, today we remember the darkest day in history… and Sunday is coming!

    Blessings,

    Melanie

    Reply

  5. Cheryl

    April 15, 2022 at 1:02 pm

    Thank you, Raoul, for your meaningful Good Friday issue.

    I am so sorry that you and your family are struggling as much as you are – and all the losses in your life. I totally understand. I’ve lost my mother, an uncle and aunt, two close friends and several other people during the past couple of years. You, Jackie and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.

    But yet – as mentioned in your “Two Cents” – we have that blessed hope! Jesus dying on the cross for us – and rising again so we can live again. And what a glorious day when we are all reunited in Heaven!

    Have a blessed Good Friday and Easter!

    Sincerely in Christ,

    Cheryl

    Reply

  6. Lee

    April 15, 2022 at 1:03 pm

    Yes, Good Friday is a day to remember the enormity of what it took for God to forgive our sins. I am sorry for your sadness and it reminds me that life was never intended to be easy. It is a challenge for all of us and when our family and friends are hurting that brings greater sadness. Some things in life bring us great joy and we often spend a lot of time trying to find or have them or simply to celebrate new life, new opportunities, and new friends who bring blessings our way.

    Many blessings to you Raoul and also to your wife! Christ is risen and in that we all rejoice!

    Lee

    Reply

  7. Hilda

    April 15, 2022 at 1:03 pm

    Those are awesome people you’re talking about. I feel your sadness.

    A blessed Easter to you, too!

    Reply

  8. Oscar

    April 15, 2022 at 1:07 pm

    I’m sorry for your loss Raoul, RIP Don and Praying for his wife Ofelia and his Family. What a Great American hero , his service is greatly appreciated 🙏🇺🇸🙏😕thank you for your prayers Raoul 👍 Thank you Jesus for paying the price for our sins today but yes Sunday will be special. Have a Good Friday brother 🙏🙏🙏

    Reply

  9. Lois

    April 15, 2022 at 3:27 pm

    Thank you for a lovely newsletter today.

    I remember Don from a breakfast I attended with you. He was a charming and interesting fellow. He gave me his card.

    In case you intend to share this elsewhere, and I hope you do, I’d like to suggest that it was probably a hatch that was opened — not a hatchet.

    I hope the next few days are happy ones for you. I wish I could share my happiness — my ninth great grandchild was born yesterday, cause for much joy. Also, two of my great grandchildren are spending a few days with us — always a source of joy.

    I hope you find your own joy.

    Love,
    Lois

    Reply

  10. Chuck

    April 15, 2022 at 3:28 pm

    Hi Raoul,

    I didn’t know that you knew Don and Ofelia. What a duo! Ofelia is one of my longest time customers. I met her when I was V.P. and Sales Manager for Title Insurance and Trust in El Monte. She was an agent for Bruce Mulhearn, another character to talk about in the future. They had some real ups and downs in life = as we are all dealt, but handled them all gracefully.

    Years ago when I went to visit them in their office, I asked Ofelia where Don was. She said that the was taking a class at Mount SAC to learn how to repair RV’s. Not what one would expect from an Income Tax man. Another time when I asked where Don was, Ofelia told me that he was taking a class in Uptown Whiter on how to repair pipe organs! Don was always ready to learn. Another activity they were active in, you might know was the Gem and Mineral Society. That meant visiting Quartzite, AZ.

    Don told me that after he reported for Navy Seal Training in San Diego, thee commander called them all to attention. Wetsuits and Tanks still on. The gates opened and several black limos with the Presidential Flags in the front hood came rolling in to the compound. President John Kennedy got out of one of the Limos and came over and thanked the Seals and individually shook their hands. I told Don, let me shake your hand. I’ve never had the honor to shake a presidents hand, and this is probably the closest I’ll ever get to it! I first met Don when he delivered a speech to the Montebello District Board of Realtors to promote Toastmasters. Ofelia was president to the Whittier Toastmasters. Years ago their daughter Gracie was an usher at Dodger stadium. Don will be missed by Ofelia, his family and friends. But his smile will live on in all of our memories. There is always some good news to share regardless of the circumstances. See my sign – off.

    Happy Easter to you and your Loved ones, Jesus Lives!

    Great Grandpa Chuck.

    Reply

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