Wednesday, July 23, 2008

In Lovin Memory

We traveled across the state on
Saturday to attend the funeral of one of my best friend's mother. We left as the full moon was setting.

Farmington is an old ranching community that sits in vast oil and gas holdings and while that seems to be the only industry, it also seems to boom and bust pretty regularly and gives the whole area a kind of sad, shabby look, as if it's hesitant to appear successful. Not much has been built in the 30 years that I have been visiting the area. What has been built, looks like it's been there for 50 years.

The people are just like the area enjoying the good and weathering the bad. If asked, they are mostly staunchly cowboys/ranchers but most make their living in the oil and gas industry. Cathy's parents have lived there since 1957 and so the lovely folks who came to celebrate her mom's life were so very representative of those last 50 years.

The small church with tin ceiling tiles and hand carved pews overflowed with flowers and was packed with sweet (they would hate that I called them sweet, but they were!!) old cowboys and their wives. The men wore the traditional starched white shirts and clean blue jeans. The cowboy boots may not have been polished but they were at least cleaned. Most of those darling old men had permanent strips of soft white virgin skin that has rarely seen the light of day under their hat brims while the rest of their faces looked like beef jerky. Most had so many wrinkles around their eyes that those eyes shone out of their faces like little lanterns shining out of cabin windows. I am sure they were lookers in their day. They were kind and polite and called me ma'am and looked out for the youngsters in the group.

The organist looked like Uncle Fester and every once in a while broke into a "take me out to the ball game" kind of rhythm to old familar hymns.

There were old songs sung, sweet words spoken, hot faces fanned with the bulletins and soft sounds of her dad's grief through out. As they carried the casket out, Hank Williams sang Beyond the Sunset and we all stood around in the heat comforting her children and grandchildren. Grandchildren and great-grandchildren who wore a variety of outfits. I loved that they felt comfortable to wear shorts and tee shirts or a black sequined number in chiffon. They knew their grandmother loved them no matter what.

We came home in one of the worst rain storms I think I have ever been in but stopped to get watermelon from the back of a truck so it was all good.

In loving memory Jean, rest in peace.

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

You've dealt with a lot of death recently.

This was a lovely tribute to your friends mother and a life style as well.