I went to another funeral yesterday. The deceased was one of the last of the friends my parents grew up with. I feel compelled to attend funerals such as his as a way of honoring not only the deceased but my parents' memories - they cannot be there, so I will represent them in a final farewell.
When the funeral director asked if I was family, i.e., should I be seated with the family members, I almost had to think for a moment; was I related? "No. I'm family to some of the family, but not related to Paul." (Mom's sister was married to Paul's brother.)
It was a large funeral. As I watched people come in there were many I looked at and thought I should know, but I couldn't place them - they looked old. Then I thought, well, they are old. I have to remember that I am almost 70 and they were older than I.
This photo of Paul was one in my Mom's album from her teenage years. He was a little more than a year younger than Mom - probably about 15 or 16 in this photo. As I said, Mom's younger sister married Paul's older brother. Paul married another neighbor girl, Osil Steadman. Paul and Osil were two of the nicest people you could ever meet.
I've used this picture in a previous blog - saying this is the way I want to remember my Mom - laughing, having fun with an old friend and neighbor. Paul was 93 when he died. The last time I saw him, a few months ago, he still looked much the same as in this photo.
Military honors at the cemetery were performed by Legion members - all but a couple of them in their later years of life. There's something about hearing Taps which almost always brings tears to my eyes. I looked over to where the lone bugler was playing. It was 90-year-old Frannie Mack, honoring a fellow WWII veteran, and playing Taps perfectly as he has done for so many others. Day is done. A final farewell.