This morning early I got an email in response to a request I sent to a dear friend. A funny man. A dancing servant of God. But he didn't write me back, his wife Earline did. Charlie Oertli, one of my very favorite people in the whole world, went home to God last night after spending the day celebrating his 84th birthday. He won't be playing Jolly Jack O' Lantern in our Ghoultide play. He won't be cutting up in Sunday School or singing in church. He won't be at Mop and Hammer or Habitat for Humanity. But his legacy will. He made St Martin's Lutheran church, and this world, a better place.
Through the years, Charlie said 'yes' every time I asked him to do something. He played a computer who lost his memory, singing and dancing in a foil covered box created just for him (with purple tights). He played St. Peter interviewing dead folks at the pearly gates. And dozens of other characters. I could always count on him to put himself out there with grace and humor. This year would have been a pumpkin suit. Ah, Charlie. I'll miss your grin, your hard work, your faith-in-action. We could always count on you, Charlie. Not because being willing was easy, but because being willing was your nature. I know that you are home. You will be missed, Charlie, but you won't be forgotten. The things you helped to build will stand forever. Maybe not the brick and mortar kind of standing, but surely your legacy will live on. Your children carry your blood in their veins. Your friends carry your song in their hearts. Well done, thou good and faithful servant.