Tuesday, January 8, 2013


I got stuck on the obituary page in Time Magazine.

Elliot Carter, dead at 103 -- a composer known throughout the world, whose music I listened to back in my choreographer days.

And Darrell Royal, age 88, a beloved, successful football coach -- he led the University of Texas's Longhorns for 20 years. The stadium where they play every Saturday, bears the coach's name.

They've been gone for a while -- Carter left the world this past November, on the 5th, and Royal left on November 7th, but even though I never knew either of them personally, I find myself thinking about them.

The composer started composing when he was 21, and never stopped. He won two Pulitizer Prizes; he was continually evolving, expanding and trying new things. His works were played throughout the world, and wow -- just in the last 10 years of his life, he created 40 musical works.

The coach? All those years -- years piled onto years of playing winning football -- it made Darrell Royal a uniquely special expert in the game.

Stubborn, committed, unrelentingly determined men -- that's what they both were. They chose to devote themselves to their work, and never stopped learning, improving, expanding, teaching, researching. Each gave his profession things that affect it and will continue to affect football and music, probably, in the years to come.

Royal said, "Football doesn't build character. It eliminates the weak ones." Think on that for a moment -- what that meant to the men Royal trained, advised, and influenced.

Carter said, "I tried to, but I could never write anything that I liked or was worthwhile. I threw it all out and realized that I had to make a serious study -- that my tastes were far more advanced than my abilities." Peruse these words, and feel how they express a humbleness, curiosity, a reverence for his work.

The Time reporter who wrote about Carter said: "His rhythmical, complex work is not easy listening -- the quartets have been called the most difficult music ever conceived, but those who take the time to understand it are richly rewarded "

The other Time reporter said, about Darrell Royal: "He stood for the values that make coaching a worthwhile profession."

Hey, it's a tribute to these two men, to be singled out, mentioned and summarized on the day they died (as each of them was), by the media. It made me wonder what Royal or Carter would think about what was said, and then I found myself wondering what would I want said about me after I've left the world?

What about you?

Whether you're young, or feeling your age, sometime in the hours that fill your days, ask yourself what you'd want to be said about you. I think it keeps changing as you grow older, so maybe once a year, ask yourself what do I want, what am I striving for?

Take a look and listen:


Here's Darrell Royal: 



Carola said...

When I imagine my memorial service, I picture people saying that I am(was) a kind, perceptive, sensitive person.

RCToyPalace said...

I've not given my own obituary any thought, EM. I always figured it would be another person's duty, to write it.

Anonymous said...

I will be happy if people remember me as being a kind person who cared about others. :D

Unknown said...

Hmmm. I think I’d like them to say that I was a loving person with a great sense of humour. More than anything I think I’d like people to remember I was here. It would be nice to know I made some kind of mark on the world lol

Anonymous said...

If I was writing my own obit, it would say,
"Louise has returned to stardust."

Louise Sorensen
louise3anne twitter

Billy Ray Chitwood said...

'To have been here and not done more! That is my regret...'

Unknown said...

One of the best obituary was the one about my dear old grandma, she was a strong willed soul. She raised 6 kids of her own and 3 more which was her grandkids. One remarkable woman who passed at the age of 88. I will not write everything it said but she is still missed.