Friday, June 28, 2019

A look back: June 28–July 6, 2018

Thursday, June 28:  When I had left work the previous day, I had intended to return for two more days of work before leaving town.  Consequently, there were a number of "loose ends" that needed to be dealt with before I could head to Ohio without inconveniencing others.

I also had a decision to make:  Take my minivan to Ohio, or be a bit more adventurous and drive my 21-year-old truck?

I put my suitcase (and some miscellaneous food and snacks) in the cab of the truck and headed first to work.  A variety of tasks took me about an hour to complete, and by 9:00 I was on my way to the ATM and points north.  It was not a particularly smooth journey.  Between construction and accidents, the trip would take well over 11 hours.  In southern KY, I was delayed more than an hour by both construction and rubbernecking around this horrific accident, which would delay southbound traffic for hours:

I had even planned on stopping at a particular exit (and a particular restaurant) for lunch; I didn't get there until nearly 3:30.  I was glad for the snacks.

I would spend the next nine days in Ohio with my family.

Friday, June 29–Sunday, July 1:  Family and friends were generous with food, cards, and the like.  The neighbor ladies on both sides of my father-in-law's place brought a lot of really yummy things and were genuine and kind in everything.  On both Friday and Saturday, my father-in-law gave us the key that got us into the HOA pool area.  The rule was that guests were to be accompanied by the resident with whom they were staying.  But on the one day, he allowed my wife and I to go on our own recognizance, figuring that we were well-behaved adults.

But...there was this one sneaky, upper-middle-aged woman who, under the guise of making our acquaintance, ascertained that we were not, in fact, with our "resident."  And she reported this to somebody with a modicum of authority, who emailed my father-in-law a terse message about this.  (Which is precisely what he didn't need.)  He mentioned it to one of those neighbor ladies on Sunday, and soon thereafter a more apologetic follow-up email followed.

My wife and her youngest brother wrote a really nice obituary for their mother using little more than a template found on the internet.  The funeral home was mildly, but pleasantly, surprised to learn that this task was already completed.

Monday, July 2:  This was the day of the viewing at the funeral home in Grand Rapids, OH.  We ended up spending nearly three straight hours on our feet, greeting a large number of friends and family who had nothing but kind words for us.  My parents sent flowers; our employer sent flowers; even my eldest daughter's soon-to-be-in-laws sent flowers.  Speaking of the eldest daughter, I picked her up from the Toledo Airport around noon in the convertible, after her flight from Boston.

My in-laws' church provided some food that evening—an amount far in excess of what we actually needed at that time.  We would continue to eat it gratefully for days.

Tuesday, July 3:  The funeral was held in the late morning at Bethany Baptist Church.  We were exactly three weeks away from our own 25th wedding anniversary—and our wedding was at this very same church—and it was interesting to consider how many people attended both our wedding and this funeral.  The two people who sang at the funeral had also both sung at our wedding (and did commendably both times).

Many years earlier, at the time of my mother-in-law's father's sudden death, my mother-in-law's mother bought a row of ten consecutive burial plots at the county cemetery adjacent to the church.  None but the first had yet been used.  The pallbearers and funeral home staff wheeled the casket to the edge of the parking lot, and the pallbearers simply carried it the short distance to the burial site.  A dove would be released.  (We learned later that someone almost accidentally let the dove out of its basket inside the church.)  We returned to the church for a generous and well-attended luncheon; by the time it was done, the dirt was returned to its place and all the equipment was gone.  (Side note: My own parents superintend a cemetery in Pennsylvania, so I have learned a thing or two from them.  The efficiency of the work was something I noticed despite the personal nature of it.)

The next three days were spent in relative laziness.  We helped my father-in-law with several things; my wife and sister-in-law assisted with writing a lot of thank-you cards.  Daughter #1 returned to MA on Friday, where she would serve until her return to SC on August 4.  On Saturday, July 7, we returned to South Carolina.  I'll save that trip for the next post.

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