"It seems that Duane was always full of surprises, right from his very start. This is the way that he entered the world, as God’s little surprise bundle. I didn’t get to enjoy Duane as a newborn baby, as he was born in Texas. But when he did get back home to Pennsylvania, it didn’t take long to see that he was just bubbling over with just plain fun. He loved to have fun!
One of the times that I enjoyed seeing him have fun was when the family got together for Christmas or Thanksgiving at my house. His cousins, Dan and Emalee, would also be there, and Duane, even though he was older, just loved to play and have fun with them. Hide and seek, the old-fashioned standby through the ages, was the game that was enjoyed by the cousins together. Duane would hide in the most undetectable places that he could find. And did the dust bunnies ever fly! He probably pulled dust balls from every crevasse of his body for a week after one of those hide and seek games! He would wedge his chubby little body under my bed as far as he could and just lay there, waiting to be found. That in itself was a surprise, because this is the place where I stuff everything that does not have a proper storage place. I never could understand how he could cram himself in there and get back out, without help! And they say that Houdini was the master of escape! There were always screams and giggles to be heard from the kitchen when Duane was finally discovered by someone. Maybe the screams and giggles were just from watching Duane escape from beneath my bed as the monster dust bunny!!?? What fun!!
I would like to think, as his mother does, that if we could see what Duane is doing right now, we would see him in heaven, with the children. He loved to have fun with them, he loved to surprise them. He loved to make them laugh. He just seemed to enjoy being with them so much. Perhaps right now, Duane is with the children in heaven, taking care of them as they play in the most awesome fun house ever created for children. I also can picture Duane sitting in heaven, in an enchanting outdoor setting, with children gathered around, all with sketch pads and pencils. Duane is teaching them to draw as only he can. The next activity will be playing hide and seek with the children, up and down the golden streets, among the mansions that Jesus prepared for all those who believe on Him. I can imagine that over the door are the names of the saints who live at each one. One mansion has the most beautiful flower garden eyes have ever beheld and the curtains are pink. One window is open and I look curiously in. It’s a music room and there inside, a young girls’ choir is singing “How Great Thou Art.” It sounds just like angels singing and it makes me want to cry. I’ve always wanted to be able to sing like that. Someone is playing a grand piano and it is the most glorious music I have ever heard. Over the door the sign reads “Lois.” (That's Sally's and my mom.) Next door, the mansion is much different, painted with wild colors and there is a play ground surrounding the entire mansion. One section of the yard has a huge snow slope, but it’s not cold, just enormously fun. There are joyful children everywhere playing, running, giggling, and singing songs of praise to their heavenly Father. They have no remembrance of pain suffered in the past world, they only know of the joy of heaven. And over the door, there is a magnificent multicolor neon light that reads, 'Duane.'"
I think Sally really did get a glimpse of heaven, don't you? That sure sounds like Duane's place to me...lots of kids, fun, laughter, art, a snow slope (have to have a place for snowboarding) and his name in multicolored neon!
One reason I like to have other people write their memories for me is that they often put into words things that I never thought to verbalize. Like Sally saying that Duane was “just bubbling over with just plain fun” and that “he loved to have fun.” That is so true, isn’t it? That was probably obvious to everyone who knew Duane, and it is apparent in nearly every photograph that I have of him. It seems as though he was driven by an inner desire to make people happy, to take away their pain and sadness and to make them laugh. He brought a lot of joy and happiness to a lot of people.