The memorial started off with two representatives from the Navy. One played Taps on the bugle. Then they both folded the flag and presented it to my older sister, Mary. When I heard the words "from a grateful nation," I cried. He and so many other veterans...we are so grateful for the sacrifices they made.
When Daddy came with us years ago to plan his memorial, we'd agreed we wanted live music. We'd had a wonderful singer at Mama's funeral 19 years ago and it was something we always talked about. The mortuary director (I'm not sure what his position is called, so forgive me if I said it wrong) said there isn't much of a call for live music these days. Also, we were having a graveside service so that made it more difficult. We requested that the musician play the three songs sung at Mama's funeral--The Old Rugged Cross, How Great Thou Art and Amazing Grace. The only person the director knew was a local guitarist whom he said had a beautiful voice. Well, the guy came with his guitar and a small amp and beautiful voice doesn't even come close to it. He was so good and inspired us so much that we ended up singing with him as he sung Daddy to Glory. My cousin, Jimmie Lee Webb, preached Daddy's funeral sermon and many of us stood up and talked about Daddy. We ended the funeral with the song I'll Fly Away. By that time we were all singing loud and clapping. I hope Daddy, Mama and Uncle Jimmie (Jimmie Lee's dad and my mother's youngest brother) could look down from heaven and see us. It was like an old-fashioned revival singing. The only thing that was missing was the potluck "dinner on the grounds."
So, life goes on. I have good days and bad days. It's the same for Allen and my sisters. You all know what it's like to lose someone you love. That old cliche "the new normal" is the reality. My deepest gratitude to all of you who have written me. I've received over five hundred emails and I've read every one of them. Your words of wisdom and support have been so helpful and healing. I am overwhelmed by your kindness and compassion. Thank you.
On a lighter note, my editor and I have finally settled on the title for my new book (sequel to The Saddlemaker's Wife)--The Road to Cardinal Valley. Once you read the book, you'll see why it is a very apt title. The road Ruby McGavin drives into Cardinal on is both physical and emotional.
So, I called this post Happy Trails Until We Meet Again. I meant it to refer to Daddy, but it also can apply to you all. I have a few speaking engagements this year despite not having a new book out (except the paperback for Spider Web which comes out in May). So, check out the appearances section of my website and see if I near you! And until then...Happiest of Trails to all of us!