The funeral was as good a funeral as I can imagine. It was hard for the family, and everyone there cried, I'm pretty sure. Stories were told about Paw Paw by his baby brother, his daughter, an adopted grandson, Shayla, Billy...I don't know. Hank did a good job as officiant although he was trying real hard not to cry the whole time. Futile effort.
Lily and May and I drove to Sumatra for the graveside service and we must have gone the long way because we got there when half the ceremony was over. They were just about to play Taps when we quietly made our ways shamefaced to the blue awning over the casket, the color guard had just folded the flag and was handing it to Nell, his wife, our Maw Maw. And then began the Mason ceremony and honeys, I have to tell you, I've never seen or heard anything like that but it was filled with deep ceremony and ritual and white gloves and old men and when it was over, I felt as if we should applaud. There were prayers and there were pine trees and it was an old cemetery and it was quiet and a good place for someone to rest.
We drove back to town and there was food as there always must be, the living must go on.
Here's what I am always going to remember about today- the diversity of the people there. I'm not even going to go into it but I'm just going to ask you to trust me. Maw Maw and Paw Paw took in as family not just folks who looked like them or thought like them but people who, somehow, needed them. And maybe they needed those people, too. As with all of the best people on this earth, it was hearts that mattered to them and hearts that still matter to Maw Maw.
I worry most about her.
Sixty years, y'all.
The song they played to end the service is one of my very favorites, despite my deep lack of religious belief. It's called "The Far Side Banks Of Jordan" which was written by a man named Terry Smith and although they didn't play the June Carter/Johnny Cash version, I'm going to give that one to you here.
I hope it gives Maw Maw some comfort.
And Billy too. His face today was the face of someone in such deep pain that you want to just hold on to them so hard that your heart can do the work for both of you for a minute, at least. But of course it doesn't really work that way. I wish it were. Oh, how I do wish it were.
Well. Billy Glenn Lunsford was laid to rest today beneath pine trees in a quiet place and I think he would have liked how it all went. Yes. I am pretty sure he would have.
And I'll be waiting on the far side banks of Jordan
I'll be waiting drawing pictures in the sand
And when I see you coming I will rise up with a shout
And coming running through the shallow waters reaching for your hand.