The Charlotte Observer has a detailed look at the daily life of aging evangelist the Rev. Billy Graham, who lives in Montreat. The world-famous preacher will be 90 on Friday, and the story captures the daily joys and struggles of a most influential man whose life is nearing the end.

Read the story to the end, and you’ll learn that Barack Obama had planned to meet with Graham on a recent visit, but Graham had to cancel. And you’ll see a most bizarre note about Graham looking upon the burial site of his beloved wife, Ruth, at his library complex in Charlotte. Her headstone reads: “End of Construction — Thank you for your patience.”

A couple of snippets:

It’s cereal, banana and eggs for breakfast and something equally simple for lunch: a pimento cheese or peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

When Graham goes to Asheville for doctor visits, he’ll sometimes have lunch at TGI Friday’s. He also likes the corn dogs at Sonic drive-in.

At 5:30 p.m. each day, the staff will ask him about dinner. Among his carry-out favorites: steak from Outback and shrimp from Red Lobster.

And this:

Graham doesn’t make much news anymore, but staying up on current events takes up much of his day.

He still takes the Observer, his hometown paper, but with failing eyesight, he can make out only the headlines. When they intrigue him – such as stories about his bank, Wachovia – he asks someone to read the article. He also likes any stories involving animals.

With the TV, he’s a flipper – CNN, especially “Larry King Live,” or Fox News.

And finally:

But it’s Graham’s time with family that is most precious, partly because he regrets being away for long periods in his preaching heyday.

Now, he’ll ask daughter Anne, a Raleigh-based evangelist, to come close, read a Bible passage and give him a sermon.

Over Sunday lunches, he’ll talk with son Franklin about his trip to North Korea and about the latest doings at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, which his son heads.

And with sister Jean, born when Graham was 13, he’ll reminisce about their parents on the Charlotte dairy farm.


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