Roy Vaughn, American Hero, True Texan, My Friend, Now Gone from Us

   Roy passed away peacefully late this morning at his home. He wanted to go home to die rather than languish in a hospital. As ever, he prevailed.

   The hospice folks were wonderful, as they alway prove to be. Kindness is not easy for some people but all these hospice folks seem to have it in abundance.

   We mourn the passing of this tall man. For all his adult life he stood in the thin blue line between the good guys and the bad guys. He offered help to everyone who would take it.

   One day we had a funeral at our church. It was one of those special funerals, for a baby violently murdered by a felon father. The murder took place in a town one half hour from us. No churches in the area wanted a biker funeral and few could blame them.

   The family called me, I called Roy and we put together a funeral. The family had a minister in its number, so I just showed up in blue jeans and boots to open and close and whatever in between.

   During the funeral a fellow in a hot, red, rented sports car pulled up in the parking lot. A rival gang had promised to disrupt the proceedings and we all thought this was their opening salvo.

   I walked out into the parking lot to confer with the driver. He was obviously rather high. I got in on the passenger side after a few minutes and told him he had to either drive to the back of the church or out of the parking lot.

   He pulled to the back of the church site. We sat in his car and I listend to his rants. He was going to kill everybody, or somebody or anybody. He had a car full of drugs and booze and guns. He was going to do this or that or the other.

   Roy stood it as long as he could. He came around the building and walked straight up to the car, in full uniform.

   "You ok, Brother Rick?" he asked.

   I had neglected to mention to the crazy guy that I was the preacher. I think he thought I was the janitor.

   "I'm Ok, Chief," I answered.

   Roy hesitated, but, up to then the man had done nothing. Roy shook his head and walked away.

   The stoned guy and I sat in his rented corvetter until people started coming out after the service.

   He reached under his seat to get something.

   "I just would not do that if I were you," I told him. "That man who walked around the building a while ago is the best man in three counties and I guarantee you there is no way you will get to shoot anyone but me before you go down."

   He eased back into his seat. I think he was a wannabe, who would have tried to make a mark that day. One look at Roy Vaughn told him all he needed to know. He was out of his league.

   We sat and talked for another half hour, until everyone had gone.

   "Do you think that policeman will let me leave now?" he finally asked me.

   "Sure," I told him. "Just don't speed on your way out of town."

   To steady him I rode with him out of town until he got to Cedar Hill. He dropped me off. The police cruiser that followed us, pulled up, picked me up and took me back to my car. Roy had it figured from beginning to end.

   Roy Vaughn is an American hero, a true Texan and my friend. He is gone from us now, which thing I can hardly bear.

   He made a difference everywhere he stood.

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