I am starting this post here this morning (Monday), but it may not get done....there is a lot of chatter to catch up on.
I guess I'll start with Thursday, briefly. Aunt Terry and her "crew" arrived Thursday evening. We had already pulled up stakes here at Granddaddy's and moved over across the creek--where we have no water. So we showered over here for the next three days and drove the three miles across the creek to sleep. (We returned after they left.)
Friday was very full. Obviously, since it was the day of the funeral. I know it sounds rather odd...but it was a smashing success.
Anyway, the day started out with a very oddly, frumpily dressed Racheal loading into the Saturn and whisking away into town with her mother's USB stick to go get pictures printed for the funeral later that day. Well, I got to Walgreens and got the two copies of this one in the works:
The pictures wouldn't be ready until 15-30 minutes later, so I came rushing back to the house to change and load guitars and stuff and then I made a bee-line for First Baptist. (Mama and Daddy picked the pictures up on their way in.)
Three of the cousins play guitar...and we had a practice with the church pianist at 11:30. That is why I was in such a hurry. It was a wee bit odd, but I found myself, the youngest of the three of us (okay, so I'm only four months younger than David) taking the lead and 'giving orders'. It was I who talked to the pianist. I guess though, since it was my parents who had essentially planned the funeral, it was somewhat natural. (I suspect I have something of a dominant personality anyway.)
We practiced and then for the next two hours did various things...I set up my camera in the balcony...talked with people...fretted over my shoes (new, never worn, a little big)...spent a few minutes with Granddaddy. I ran up and down the stairs a couple of times.
People said nice things to me and I'll admit that one gentleman's telling me that I "always looked pretty" even when I was "dirty" (my words) because of "pretty smiles, pretty eyes, and a sweet spirit" rather made my day. I don't always have a sweet spirit, but I do appreciate his kindness. [There is a little history to that comment that made it particularly special.] I was thrilled to see Tommy and Ricky show up...there were also second and third and fourth cousins there...but since we don't really actually know each other for the most part there wasn't anything overly spectacular to relate on that front. Dear Butch and Betty were there...poor Butch, he loved Granddaddy so. I was going to go greet Zeke (a cousin and gun-store friend), but I never got over to where he was seated and then later, I couldn't locate him. I'll have to go to Gator Guns on some pretense... ;)
The funeral started at two. I have a schedule around here someplace, but I'll try to remember the order off the top of my head. But first, let me mention that we had a PowerPoint with pictures of Granddaddy going, underlaid with he himself singing! That was what he wanted. He wanted to play his own funeral...and he did. :) He recorded these cassette tapes over the years...and I took my handy-dandy Zoom last Wednesday and Thursday and recorded them (oddly enough the digital recording sounded better than the tape). I had to take the audio files and raise the gain on them...but even that solidified in my mind that I really do not enjoy audio editing. (A shout-out here to my brother, Andrew, for his advice on the free Audacity download. Thanks! You really helped.)
The funeral itself went along something like this: a prayer, a scripture reading, reading of the obituary, the singing of "I'll Fly Away" (with three guitars and a piano), the three eulogies given by three granddaughters (Savannah [filmed by moi], Beth, and Cassandra), a short sermonette, the singing of the "Doxology", and another prayer. We let Granddaddy close out by singing "It is Finished" (by now I was wishing I had my handkie, which was in my purse which I had left with Daddy--who was nearly at the other end of the row. (I was sitting next to Philip and Joel.)) Then...oh chills!! Aunt Terry and David got up and played echo Taps. Need I say more? I really had to fight the serious bawling then...of course, I always cry when I hear Taps, but this was particularly emotional.
All the present grandchildren (which was all but three anyway) were the pall-bearers. At the close of the service, we followed Pastor Matt out, followed by the casket (on a gurney), followed by the rest of the family. We carried the casket down the steps and then put it into the hearse. (Only they called it a "funeral coach". I never heard that term before.)
Then, we all loaded up into our respective vehicles and headed for the cemetery. I think Uncle Rod nearly hit the back of our truck squeaking in behind us...but never mind, he didn't.
I have never been part of a funeral procession before either, so I found it slighting interesting (once I got done blowing my nose) to see the cars pulling over and that the police had shut down the main highway intersection for us. I'm sure that the vehicles forced to a stop there were glad we were a rather shortish funeral procession so that they didn't have to stop their travels for too long. (And I hope no one thinks me callous, but I munched on tater chips nearly the whole way to the cemetery.)
I cried more at the graveside bit than during the rest of it. See, Granddaddy had a military funeral. He was only in from '52-'54...but he went to Georgia Military Academy and was a Drill Sgt. during the Korean War.
The VFW honor guard was there, Garand rifles and all (Daddy remarked, "He would have liked being Garand-ed"). I seriously couldn't keep from crying when the flag was presented to Daddy (Mama told me that was Aunt Terry's call...and I thank her for it) and then Aunt Terry got up after the military salute and played Taps again. Between me and Aimee, we did enough sniffling for the back row, I think.
By the way...Daddy wore his dress blues. :)
The ladies of First Baptist fed us supper...after which most of the cousins went into the adjoining gymnasium and acted like a bunch of kids. It was most fun when Philip, Joel, Cassandra, and I started playing basket ball--not that I know anything about it. Philip and I were a team (the 'dark' team--we both had on all black) and Joel and Cassandra were a team (the 'light' team--because their clothes were lighter). The light team won. :)
I was dead-beat most of the day on Saturday (food hanger-over, plus being tried anyway). I probably looked something like this:
We had a few minutes of music because heading into town for supper. I had, ahem, grits and shrimp (*gasp* GMO-corn!!), and it was really good. I was afraid I was going to be just as dopey on Sunday as I had been all day Saturday, but I wasn't, thankfully.
It was good to be in my church again...it made me laugh when one of the deacons who passes out bulletins turned and was fixing to extend his usual greeting (a hug for everyone, even first time visitors) and then his usually pleasant face got even more pleasant and he threw his arms out wider with a "Hello! It's good to see you again!" And then he forgot to give me a bulletin! :D
I got a different reaction from one of the elders; it was equally welcoming, but different. He turned around, looked me over in mock seriousness and then grinned, "I think we know you..."
And then there was Bob and Bob...and I met a very pretty girl who is my age whose name is also Rachel... :D They were visiting from Georgia, but her Dad is from here...and they were here for a funeral as well. Interesting facts of life. ;)
Shortly before we left, I went to check my phone for some reason and I saw that I had a missed call. It was from Mr. A! Well, I called him back on the way home and he just wanted to express his sympathy and tell me that they were going to come to the funeral, but Mrs. A had an eye appointment that day. A wrinkled cornea or something, I believe he said. It sounded very painful whatever it was!
Last evening, we decided to go to the traveling Vietnam Wall. It was the last day on it and since we were here while it was, we decided to go even though it was Sunday. The closing ceremony was not PC. ;) Didn't expect it to be, but it was nice that the opening and closing prayers were in the "name of Christ Jesus"--and the fact that people actually got quiet for the prayers. Being as it was also Pearl Harbor Day, the subject of the little talks was primarily December 7, 1941. I had the pleasure and honor of meeting another handful of WWII vets.
When we came home, we Skyped with the girls for awhile and then watched "Tora! Tora! Tora!" We don't usually watch films on Sunday, but as the 73rd anniversary of Pearl Harbor on the very day it happened (Sunday), we felt it was appropriate.
Today, I started out to mow the grass at our place. Plain and simple, I couldn't get the Kubota cranked--even jumping it. So...I came home for lunch. I thought perhaps I would take the John Deere over and mow the pasture over there (it needs it worse than the yard) instead. Well, not too long after lunch, Tommy and Ricky came by to put out some mineral and got invited in for a cup of coffee--which turned into a rancher's planning meeting--and I hung around. Tommy took Daddy out to look at the Cogon grass (Tommy says it so it sounds like "cugen") which is trying to take over. It's been sprayed at least once. While they were out and about and Mama talked with Ricky, I puttered around in the barn. I aired up the John Deere's front tires and then crawled on to see if I could get the thing cranked. It didn't even hum. I started tinkering around with putting the battery charger on and then Ricky told me that they have just been pull starting it since the battery charger isn't worth much (agreed!) Apparently the thing doesn't hold the charge anyway...they'll run it and can't get it cranked again. Very good to know. Anyway, I think I'll probably be mowing Cogon grass and briers tomorrow.
Soo...I have to say I didn't get much done today, but I think I learned a few things by listening to the men's conversation, so it wasn't a total waste. I now feel too dirty to do much, so I may go get cleaned up then see if I can help Mama (who is cleaning out the closet in Granddaddy's bedroom).