As I would not be able to get through this as a speech, I will save us all from that discomfort by sending you these thoughts now.
In the few years, before I started to school, my grandmother was my constant companion and my private tutor for the skills I would require the rest of my life. I doubt that any prince has ever had a more capable and caring teacher of life’s essentials including elements of The Three Rs and the idea: “I could learn something from everyone i would meet.”
She always called me “Charles”, as if my name were a title. When I was less than attentive, she spoke firmly: “Charles Clanton!”. Grandmother regularly impressed on me and everyone, in my presence, that “Charles is a good boy”, and she would firmly state that I could become anything I wished to be. I learned from her the wisdom which had been distilled by those who lived before us, which was to be lived by us and delivered to my children and students. It is their responsibility to do likewise.
After eighty years, I find that my grandmother’s view was more nearly true than she or I could have known, as my fortunes and privileges have far exceeded my dreams.
Having now experienced, witnessed, and shared a wealth of relationships and adventuress, I find myself in the company of an exceptional family and attentive friends.
To say that I am grateful seems inadequate.
My mother, father and numerous exceptional teachers, pulled, encouraged and, leading by example, piloted me through the mercurial weather of a formal education.
My professional experience was a genuine privilege, having been entrusted with precious responsibilities.
I never thought that I would live to be eighty, apparently with a clear mind. I have seen our sons become mature, accomplished men and I am privileged to have become close to their outstanding life partners.
Now I spend my days being loved by the love of my life, my family and friends, relishing life with literature, music and performing arts, in the comfort and luxury few have known.
Thank you. I love you.
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were going to live forever”