Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Tribute to Lester Draper

Lester Barton Draper passed away on November 22, 2009.  He was 65.

Les was my first cousin and pretty much the standard bearer for the family.  He had gone for a bicycle ride and suffered a heart attack while riding.  He was found still astide his bike, lying at the side of the road.

Les was the only one of our generation who had much memory of our Grandpa Eph.  We loved hearing him tell stories of his boyhood alongside Grandpa on the farm in Provo.  He reminded me of Grandpa.  Both were short and a bit portly in their old age.  Both died of heart failure.  Both were jovial and gregarious.  I was always grateful to be around Les and his cheerful nature.  Everyone who knew him knew Les loved and enjoyed him or her.

Les had the most endearing laugh.  It was such a delight to hear his joyful laughter that you just longed to be funny enough to make him do it again.  Les was funny enough for all of us.  We didn't have to make him laugh, he made us laugh.  I would love to have a bottle of that delightful sound that I could open and enjoy at will.  At the luncheon, I listened for it.  I hoped to hear him laughing from the other side.  It never happened.  I hoped the his son or brother, might somehow sound the same.  No such luck.  Les' signature giggle went with him and we'll have a long wait before we hear it again.

Lester was an outfitter.  He would take folks on horseback outings.  He was the whole package.  He was a ferrier and could keep the horses shod.  He was a great camp cook.  He loved to play the guitar and sing.  He'd done a lot of research digging up old cowboy songs and loved to share them.  He was an excellent carpenter and was often out helping people with this project or that.  He did a lot of work on Christmas projects for people.  These are all service opportunities and avocational activities.  Careerwise, Les was a Driver's Licence Examiner.

He was a member of a couple of bands and played a lot around Central Utah.  Every Tuesday he was found at the Old Folks Home entertaining.  How he will be missed there.

When Lester's brother spoke at the funeral he quoted Elder Jeffery R. Holland.
"And always there are those angels who come and go all around us, seen and unseen, known and unknown, mortal and immortal."
Then he reminded us that Lester was an angel, a seen, known and mortal angel.  How very true it was.  The funeral was attended by Bishops in suits and Cowboys in jeans.  Lester had been an angel to us all.  At the funeral Kate gave me a copy of a CD Les recorded of some of his songs.  I enjoyed them all the way home. One is about a Cowboy who has died and gone.  A phrase in the song says that it would be wrong to question why, "it's just that some of us don't know how to say goodbye."  The only way I can stand to say goodbye is to imagine Les and Grandpa each elboing their way through heavenly crowds for a chance to gaze into each other's eyes and be embraced in each other's arms.

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