|( Photo: www.hrdshutterbugclub.org )|
Yesterday was one of those rapid fire days. At five thirty am, I had to care for horses and dogs so that at seven am, I could take a family member for continuing specialty medical care at a university medical center at a city far away. Two days before, I had learned that a friend had died suddenly and that his funeral would be later that day in still another city, Richmond. I wasn't very sure that I could make the trip to the Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond by later that afternoon, but I knew I would try.
Hollywood Cemetery is an interesting place. Sprawling hills of monuments and mausoleums, from the interior it seems as if it's in rural Kansas or Texas, but from parts of it, one can see the James River, and the Richmond skyline. It somehow bridges the gap between the country and the city. It is the final resting place of the remains of two US Presidents, John Tyler and James Monroe. It is also the final resting place of the remains of the only president of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis. It is quite the Civil War historical site in that twenty five or more confederate generals were buried here, including J.E.B. Stuart and George Pickett.
Luckily, we completed our medical center visit out of town, and the interstate was nearly empty.
When I returned my son had the car ready, and I mouthed, "I'll change". I grabbed nice black slacks that I never wear, and a shirt, thinking that it was still too cool out to wear a dress. I spent ten minutes looking for white pearls, that at least looked real, in order I thought, to show proper respect.
Garmin is a trip ! The robotic voice mispronounces words and sounds annoyed when we don't follow its exact directions. My son knows the way to the Hollywood Cemetery simply because it is so near the university from which he graduated, but somehow, he prefers to travel the most expedient route. It was a good thing he did. We arrived about two minutes before the funeral began.
Our friend who passed was 96. We had visited him at home for an hour or so about a week before he had passed. He was as clear as a bell, but tired, I think. He is the father of a family friend. I remember their family being particularly present and supportive when our youngest son passed suddenly five years ago. How could we not have appeared as representatives of our family, when this man passed ?
We knew this man as the elderly patriarch of a wonderful large rural family, but I am ashamed to say I knew only a snapshot of his later years. There are many things about him we learned at his funeral. It was interesting to see how touched his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren were at the prospect of his departure from this life. 96 years is a long time to be granted with one's family, but I suppose when we love, losing someone at any time is a great sorrow. I know I miss my own father immensely. The Richmond Fire Department appeared at the funeral in full dress uniform to honor our friend for his long term service there, as did many, many people.
So if you ever make it to Hollywood Cemetery, please tell Wallace that it was a life well spent, and well played. (Although we both know, his soul won't spend much time there.) Make sure that in your flurry to be prepared, care for your family, and earn a living, that you carve out time to spend with family and pets, and to spend time reading as Wallace did. Enjoy your day.