This tribute was posted to the Standing Stone Honey Products Facebook page this week. Something you find with a home business is that many people have helped in getting you to where you are in your endeavors. It's not just money that is important in a business, but the encouragement to keep going on. Dewayne was one of the people who gave me encouragement on a regular basis.
As this new year begins, I want to acknowledge the help and encouragement of a friend who tragically passed into eternity last year. Dewayne Block became a friend of mine soon after I began participating in the Homer Farmers Market. He was an older gentleman in his early eighties. He lived by himself just down the street from the farmers market. For his age, he was very active. I became accustomed to seeing him walk up the street week after week to the market. He would come directly to my table of honey bee products. Then we would chat, and he would tell me story after story.
Dewayne didn't have much money. He told me once, laughing, that he went to the bank to withdraw cash so he could get some products from me, but learned he only had $3, so he thought he better not take it out right then! He was a handyman for his landlord, and was given a discount on his rent for his work. One month he informed me that his bills were less, and he would be getting more products from me. He looked for opportunities to use my products as gifts for his family.
People have complemented how nice an oak display is that I set products on at the farmers markets. Dewayne made that stand. One week he promised that he would make a display for me. Another week he came with that beautiful piece of craftsmanship. It is a gift that I cherish.
One year, upon learning it was my birthday, Dewayne left the market and came back with some muffins for me. The week before Dewayne died, he came to the market looking for me. I wasn't there, but my Dad was there in my place. Dewayne informed him that my birthday was coming up! It was a pleasant surprise that he had remembered.
Dewayne was known for being a handyman, and was often seen working on the apartment he was renting. One of the primary things he talked about with me was the many jobs he had throughout his life, and the interesting people he worked with. He called me up a couple times to see if I could help him with some of his projects. Dewayne was a pleasure to work with on those occasions.
I learned of the fire that took Dewayne's life the day it happened from a customer at another farmers market. The fire had closed Main Street, and the building was a historic one. I learned that there was a man unaccounted for that evening, and presumed dead. As more details emerged the next couple days, I became convinced that it was my friend, Dewayne, that died in the fire. After a few days, it was confirmed that it was Dewayne that had died. Someone told me they had heard that he almost escaped because emergency personnel found him near a window. It was figured that he had responded too slowly because he was hard of hearing, and had taken his hearing aids out for the night. The fire happened around 3 AM. The fire was started from another resident that was making methamphetamine.
I take comfort that Dewayne professed Jesus Christ as his Saviour. I had shared a Christian booklet with him and asked if he was a Christian. He assured me that he was. Dewayne couldn't drive, but made efforts to walk several miles to a church fellowship. Sometimes people from the church he attended would see him walking to the assembly, and they would stop and drive him the rest of the way.
It is still easy to think about Dewayne coming up that sidewalk. Dewayne is going to be missed. He certainly had a part of making this business a success because of the powerful encouragement he gave.
The following is a poem that Dewayne copied by hand from an old book at the library. He knew I would like it because it was about bees. He gave me his handwritten copy, and read it to me. Perhaps it will be a blessing to you also:
The Wild Bees' Home
Wild Bees' of the wood are we;
But our Hives you must not see,
Here behold our Happy Home,
Where we labor, where we Roam;
Brooks that on their shining bosoms
Catch the overhanging Blossoms;
On the banks all bright with clustering flowers.
Here is where we pass our hours.
Seldom on this solitude,
Does a Boy or Girl intrude.
Let the children fly their kites, and play their games,
While we make them Honey Day and Night,
The children, all are happy at their play,
While the Bees' flit from Flower to Flower,
While on to make sweet Honey every Day.