Memorial Day Weekend. Today I remember people who have run ahead in a journey. I miss them on this earth, yet they are forever in my resolve, in my actions, and in my gratitude.

  1. Grandma. A bit of a worrier … no one sweetened my childhood like my grandma.  Homemade cookies, walks along the railroads tracks in search of shiny bits of glass, funny stories about my mom, hymns on her organ, family photos of which only she knew the names and faces, quirky puns … couldn’t have asked for a more impressive grandmother.
  2. Dad.  A procrastinator.  A philosopher. An inventor. A baker. An engineer. An artist. A machinist. A musician.  A furniture refinisher. A clock maker (repairer). A mechanic. An accountant.  The only of these skills that he went to school for was accounting.  All of the other capabilities were self-taught. He complained sometimes that he hadn’t made much of his life. Even though he started more than he finished, he was never bored, and people lined up for his help. (Dad was a War Veteran having served in WWII as a plane mechanic in India.)
  3. My Mother-In-Law.  To almost everything I said or did, she would say, “That’s wonderful.”  I don’t know that I’ve ever had so much confidence as when she was around.
  4. My Father-In-Law. Quite possibly the loudest human being I’ve ever known. He filled a room with noise and mischief.  He filled the hearts of his grandchildren with adventure and their stomachs with chocolate. (He, too was a veteran, having served in the Navy for 30 years.)
  5. A Friend who left far too early at the throes of cancer.  Cancer is a dreadful thief, yet, my friend lived life vibrantly … so vibrantly that her talents, her curiosity, and her resolve spilled deep into the hearts of four remarkable adult children who are shaping a whole flock of their own children with the very best parts of her.
  6. Larry Trimble.  I never knew Larry Trimble.  He piloted a plane in Viet Nam.  That plane went down when I was 11-years-old, and his parents (farmers in my little town) waited 17 years for him to come home.  He returned in a coffin.  His co-pilot had been captured and released within a year, but Larry’s remains weren’t discovered for nearly two decades, and his family would never know exactly what happened.  My siblings and I all worked for Larry’s parents sometime or another during our teen years.  I rarely have encountered more generous souls.  Sadness sat behind their eyes, yet they were proud – always – of their son.  For all the sadness, I cannot remember even a trace of bitterness.  In the gift of their son, this remarkable couple served their country without having put on a uniform.

Simple, sometimes flawed people … changing me … sending a ripple into the world .  I remember and I am thankful.

Remembering six who have gone before me. One I never met.