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December 16th, 2002

The viewing...

Work was uneventful today. First thing, I made a doctor's appointment about this sore throat. At 10:15, I weighed in -- not in a good place. My blood pressure was good though, 124/82. The nurse took a throat culture. Negative for Strep. The doctor saw it immediately with the light in my throat... "you have an ulcer about the size of a dime back there." The medicine she prescribed me is called, "Magic Mouthwash." That seems wrong on so many levels.

On the way back from the doctor, I stopped by the RTP post office to mail Mom & Dad C.'s package. The line was beyond ridamndiculous and was moving at less than a snail's pace. I checked the EAGLE post office box while I was there. The post office box annual fee of $68.00 is overdue. I took care of it as my EAGLE donation for 2003.

I left work at 4:00, and stopped by the post office on Method Road on the way home. The line was long, but nothing like the one at RTP earlier in the day. I mailed my package, and bought 100 "Snowman" stamps.

I stopped by K-Mart and turned in my prescription for "Magic Mouthwash" and Prinzide. She indicated a 45-minute wait, so I told them I'd be back later to get it.

Got dressed for Aaron's viewing, and went back by the K-Mart pharmacy on the way out. Two things happened in there: 1) I noticed that in the light the sweater I had on did not go with the pants I had on and 2) they did not have my prescription ready. I was rather pissed, but used "response-ability" to remain calm. After finally getting my prescriptions, I stopped back by home to change into another sweater.

I arrived at Bryan-Lee at about 7:45. There was an unbelievably long line, and after getting in the line for a second, I stepped back out. I didn't recognize anyone, so I thought maybe there were two viewings going on there. Turns out there's only one and that's the right line. While waiting in that line to sign in, Phil came out, and either didn't recognize me, or ignored me. Then, Dawn came out, saw me, got a big smile on her face, and then came over and hugged me. She's so beautiful.

In line I thought I saw Dave and Jason before they went around the corner. After signing in, "Uncle Bob" came by, and we said hello. Further up, I saw Chris sitting in a wing-backed chair. He looks sick to me.

As I turned the next corner, I saw Charlie and he saw me, and came over, shook my hand, and said hello. He looks heavier and grayer, but good. I didn't even recognize that it was Martin and Sheryl sitting and talking with him.

The line moved a little bit further, and Dawn came back up to talk to me. As I turned to face her, I realized Joe was in line two people behind me, and he saw me then, too, so he came up. Interesting that none of the "in-laws" were in the receiving line. It was only mom and the kids.

I had a couple of teary moments in the line, and then again when I got up to the pictures. There were a couple of Mr. & Mrs. Stephenson's 50th wedding anniversary party, which I, of course, attended. Rob had his beard in the one. I particularly liked the picture of Mr. Stephenson out on his front porch swing with Sasha sitting beside him.

Rob was at the beginning of the receiving line and we hugged and hugged and hugged. I could tell he was hurting. He thanked me so much for being there, said it meant a lot. I knew I'd be crying all through the line, as this was the first time seeing the family in a long time.

Doris was next. Then mom. Then Debbie, who hugged me and cried and said, "We miss you." Joye was crying to, and mussed up my hair. She said, "What did you do to your hair?" I said, "Your son did it!" She said, "Did you fire him?" I'm guessing she doesn't like it short.

Aaron looked "different" to me in the coffin. The back of his right hand was very bruised. The picture of him that was sitting on the coffin, I thought, looked exactly like Chris. No one else really saw it. Least of all Chris. He didn't seem at all flattered that it might even be a possibility.

I stepped out of the main room, and Greg Watkins was out there waiting to say hello. That was nice. He took me into the chapel where Andrew and Brad were. I said hello and they introduced me to Brad's friend Alex. Greg told me that Dan would be doing the music tomorrow at the funeral. How nice.

I spoke with Thomas for a few minutes, and then Heather came.

I waited a bit for Steve to come, but started thinking maybe he couldn't get away from his mom's. I went to the car to check my cell phone messages, there were none, so I called Steve. He told me he was having trouble getting away, and wasn't going to make it. He asked me how I was doing, and I said yes, but he said, "There's a lot of memories there, huh? You sound like you need a hug." Of course that made me cry, because I did. He said, "Oh. I wish I could be there for you." What a cherished friend he is! I told him I totally understood that he needed to be there for his mom, and how much I appreciate him. He told me to give Joye a hug and give Rob his regards. We hung up, and I went back in and delivered his sentiments.

I chatted a little bit with Charlie and Phil, and while we were talking, Joe walked up and joined us. I thought, "Hmmm. It's the four "brothers-in-law" again. Odd. Charlie told me the story about his 14 years with IBM. I think I knew he worked for IBM, but I didn't realize it was that long, and I had no idea what he had done for them. I enjoyed the conversation. I think Phil was a little bored with it. He retired from IBM. How weird; three of the four "brothers-in-law" work for IBM, and Joe works in computers, too.

After that, I stepped over to Rob before going. He seemed a little loss, and was twirling the watch on his hand, which was too big for him. "That's daddy's watch. It's been a comfort to have it on tonight." He mentioned that Rosalie won't be staying in "the homestead," but they didn't yet know where she was going to live. "We're just taking it day by day right now." We had a long hug, and he again told me that it meant a lot that I was there. He is such a sweet man.

I stopped by the grocery store on the way home, and stocked back up with the staples I lost from the storm. I took some of the "Magic Mouthwash." It tastes yummy!

Robert checked in online, as did Steve. Both wishing well.

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