Anyone who ever happened to wander into Clyde's On The Square in downtown McKinney, TX, would most surely find this man faithfully at his post behind the front desk. And if anyone ever mistook him to be Clyde, it would only happen once. I got to know Killis (also known as "The Bench") during the years that I rented a booth in Clyde's. Bret and I would usually come in on Sunday afternoons to restock and pick up our weekly earnings. Killis was always there, milkshake and Sunday paper in hand. He'd look up at both of us as we came in.
"Hi, Jenny," he'd say, looking back down and purposely ignoring Bret, whom he affectionately referred to as "Useless". Killis was a grumpy old cuss, and cuss he did. Often. He wasn't the least bit concerned about offending anyone with his colorful language, and he had a very low tolerance for stupidity and/or ignorance. And if you spent any time at all around him, you were very likely to do something stupid or ignorant. :)
But those who really knew Killis could see that underneath that gruff exterior was a heart of pure gold. Those who knew him loved him. He liked to act all tough and mean, but I never bought it. It was too easy to make him smile. I will remember his smile.
Killis passed away on April 1st at the age of 87. How appropriate that he would go on April Fool's Day! I think he'd like that. Bret and I attended his graveside service. I can honestly say I've never laughed so much at a funeral. His preacher gave the opportunity for those in attendance to share their "Killis" stories. There were plenty of funny ones, but there were also stories of his generosity, his faith in the Lord and his love for his family and others. It was a celebration of a life well lived. I was blessed to be there and blessed to have known him.
As we were standing there, Bret asked me, "Is there cussing in Heaven?" to which I said, "There is now!"
I bet they've already got him working the front desk.