Collectively, we managed to represent his various facets -- the Pelican, the legendary fan, and the bookseller. His social worker was, I gather, more than a little surprised to see this gaggle of white folks there for him -- I get the sense that she was never quite sure how much stock to put in his stories.
It did get me thinking about what I would have said if they'd asked for a word from friends and family. This is what came out.
Master El was a giant. Even when age and infirmity stooped his back and cost him his leg, he still had more sheer *presence* than any other three men I can think of. Whether he was seated on a bench, affably telling stories, or getting up during Court to complement or castigate the King, you always knew he was there.
I've always felt it a bit of an injustice that he was never recognized as a Tyger of the East. To me, he was always *the* Tyger, laced through early Kingdom history, an inspiration to us service types who came after. He could be a pain in the ass, to be sure, especially in his later years, but every culture needs its gadflies, to keep it honest.
He defended the weak; he fought for the right; he spoke truth to power. I know few who can claim to have done better than that...