Friday, September 4, 2009

And So It Goes

Kurt Vonnegut, one of my favorite authors (read most everything he has written) tends to end things like sections and chapters and books with "and so it goes." Never quite sure what that means until a day like yesterday. Actually two partial days.

On Wednesday evening we all went to the mortuary for a 5 - 7 visit. I have never been a big fan of "visitations" in fact I do not go when invited. This was/is different. Too close. And so we went. And, the casket was open at the request of Jerry's mom and dad. (There is a stoic couple. They have 3 children, two are now dead. Can you imagine outliving two of your three children?)

That was hard. I have seen enough death to last a couple of lifetimes. Picked up too many bodies of battlefields and flown with too many comrades-in-arms. One does certain things because to not do them would be a worse. Occam's razor and all that stuff.

Then on Thursday we did the funeral thing. A relatively Small church, holding about 260 or so was filled to capacity and the outside held another 60 or so. Jerry had friends, a bunch of them. Interestingly enough, though he was not enamoured with the Episcopal Church in later years. If, however, we measure Christians by Matthew 26 and not by ASA Jerry would be at the top of the list. He helped everyone. Want to build a car -- no problem he would work side by side with you doing whatever you wanted him to. Jerry, me and both of my children built cars. My daughter built a bug and my son built a truck and Jerry was the catalyst. We had truly great times. Ask, and you shall receive. Jerry built the mascot for the local high school. Kathy, his wife works there but Jerry built it because he could and they needed it.

Anyway we did the funeral thing with full military honors. He was retired Lt. Col. in the Army and the briefing officer for Edwards Air Force Base. Jerry led many lives. We had an amazing soloist, Jerry's brother-in-law's wife has an incredible voice. She sang Amazing Grace flawlessly. Oh, did I mention she was Jewish? Great lady. That, Taps, and the presentation of the flag to our friend Kathy were faltering points for me. But we did get through it -- don't we always?

Then, as if to punctuate this whole thing with one last laugh, the 41 Ford, Jerry's pride and joy, the car that was driven to the funeral by his son and carried Kathy, failed to start. But, after everyone left and Nathan (Jerry's son came back) the Ford fired right up. It was Jerry, saying goodbye in the only way he could.

To finish this post I offer the following, it will give you a glimpse of the soul of the man I called friend.

And so it goes.

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