Wednesday, January 25, 2012
we made a flying trip down tahoka way today for the memorial service for my uncle david. the truth is he was my aunt callie fae's husband. still he was my uncle.
for reasons i find hard to explain, i was closest to my uncles on my daddy's side of the family. likely it was because they were just way more fun to be around than the sons of my mom's foot washing , primitive baptist parents. there's nothing wrong with the primitive baptists, i'm just sayin'.
uncle david had just passed his 88th birthday back in december. he married aunt cal in 1946 and spent the bigger part of his life coaxing a living from dry land cotton farms in and around lynn county in texas. the young man who led his graveside service had the good fortune to know uncle david at least a little bit. he was right on when he said "david was a good man." david was kind, soft spoken, always with a word of some value for a young man growing up; always interested in how my family was doing in my later years.
i wish i had a nickel for every funeral i've attended. without fail some one or other feels the need to ask, "doesn't he, or she, look natural?" in most cases the truthful answer would be-- "nooooh, he looks exactly like he is, that being dead".
in uncle david's case the gods came together for a perfect funeral. it was a very simple service for a man who, i would guess, abhorred fuss. in david's case, he did look natural. he might have been sleeping but for the fact that he was laying in a casket. cleta and sandra's choices were perfect for their dad. into the coffin's lining was embroidered a "john deere" tractor. the casket spray had tucked among the perfect red roses, cotton bolls and burrs. the day was cold and gray, the sand was blowing across the road as we came down from lubbock, in other words typical weather for the time of year and the current drought conditions. as we neared tahoka it was raining hard.
at the cemetery his casket was draped with the stars and stripes. a three man honor guard stood at attention. the marine played taps, standing in the rain as the other soldiers folded the flag for presentation to the family. as a unit they were there to pay final homage to david, a fellow soldier, in recognition of his service to our country.
the rain may have been seen as unfortunate by some. somewhere i'm sure david was smiling. for a man who spent his life praying for rain, the day was a perfect send off and the funeral arrangements perfectly suited the man i will forever remember as my