Friday, March 16, 2007

March 15, 2007
Kathy and I left the house at 7:45, met Deena at Albertson's near I-17 and Carefree Highway. She got in with us and we took off for Kingman. Got there at 11:30, went by Sutton Funeral Home and handed the director my yellow scarf to complete my mother's ensemble.

Kathy, Deena and I then went to Cracker Barrel on Stockton Hill Road for an iced tea, vegetable soup and a sando ($14 includes tip). Bought a Kingman Daily Miner (50 cents) to see if my mother's obit made it into the paper, but unfortunately, it was Wednesday's paper. I paid $37.50 to get the obit in the paper (includes fee for photo, although I sent a 72 dpi jpg, and knew it would be weak).

We got to Mountain View Cemetery at 12:30 and parked in the shade of an iron tree and walked down to meet all my mother's family. The Linns, the Hamiltons, the Weirs, the Guesses and the Stockbridges were all there, plus several friends of the family including Anne Glancy Collins and Linda Smith's mom, Elsie Smith. Charlie and Linda Waters drove down from Vegas and picked up Charlie's mother Martha Waters. One of my favorite Kingman classmates, Karen Johnson Collins, sent flowers, as did the staff at True West, Carole Glenn sent another batch and Trish Brink and Samantha Somers also sent floral arrangements.

It was quite warm in the sun and fortunately the Sutton staff provided umbrellas for us, which was nice. The other blessing is that it was not windy (a Kingman staple). Last week I asked for a representative from each of the five Guess girls to be a pall bearer and Bill Weir represented Sadie Pearl's family, Billy Hamilton represented his mother Mary Guess Hamilton, Deena Bell represented Bobbie, Robert Jerl Stockbridge represented his mother Patsy Guess, and Bud Linn, husband of Jean Guess and the last surviving Guess girl, rounded out the family reps. For the fifth pall bearer I chose Charlie Waters, longtime friend, bandmate and one of my mother's favorites of all my friends.

Pastor Stan Simonik struck me as a nice old man (I would have guessed he was in his mid-seventies) who was close to retirement and during the service he told of the history of Grace Lutheran Church and my mother's involvement in helping to found it. He also praised Jesus, reading several texts from the bible and as I looked at my mother's casket I knew she would approve of his message and the service. I could almost make out her head nodding, but since it was a closed casket, perhaps I was just seeing things

Afterwards I thanked him for his comments and he told me how he almost died from a brain annuerism earlier this year, but thanks to the prayers of his congregation, it is now gone. I felt a strong empathy for someone of his advancing age and asked him how old he is and he said, "I just turned sixty." As I shook his hand one last time, I realized he is younger than me.

Welcome to the fourth quarter, Mr. Bell. Or is a better sports metaphor, The Two Minute Warning?

From the cemetery we all drove up to Keven and Brenda Stockbridge's home for a snack and a chance to sit down and catch up on each other's lives. That was wonderful, and as we ate Subway hogies and iced tea (no one makes better iced tea than Guess descendants!) we caught up on each others lives and laughed and told the great family tales. My cousin Billy Hamilton is operating what some believe is the largest ranch in the country. With his annexation of the Diamond Bar (Tap Duncan's old spread) Billy controls more cattle country than the fabled King Ranch in Texas.

Jarom Lewis made us all custom dinner bells which was a sweet treat and I plan on putting mine up in the breezeway to irritate the dogs. Ha.

We took off for home at three. Bud and Jean Linn had a 12-hour-hike ahead of them back to Fort Sumner, New Mexico and were planning on making it to Flag for the night. I think I talked Bud into taking the southern route through Datil, Magdalena and Socorro, rather than fight the trucks and eighty-mile-an-hour-congestion on I-40. On their way over to the funeral they got caught in Albuquerque rush hour and it took them an hour to get through.

We got home at six. A long day, but quite memorable. Also, I learned that Duke got knocked out of the NCAAs in the first round so maybe there is a god.

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