Showered and put on my suit, which thank God, still fit. I left at about 10:05. I neared the funeral home at about 10:20, which was too early, so turned into a little shopping center near there and sat and read the paper for 10 minutes.
I arrived at Bryan-Lee's at 10:30, was asked by the directors in the parking lot if I would be going to the cemetery, said yes, and was directed to park.
Inside, I saw Charley and Phil by the door to the viewing room, but didn't go over there. It was mostly organizational stuff going on at this point, getting the pallbearers together, etc.
I took a seat in the chapel, half way up on the "other" side -- the entire right side was reserved for the family. There were six or eight beautiful flower arrangements across the front -- they made me think of Rob.
Some folks sat in the pew behind me, who I gather were credit union colleagues of Doris, as one of them said, "I believe that third one from the left is from the credit union."
The pallbearers came in, all family and significant others: Roger (Aaron's youngest brother), Charlie, Joe, Phil, David, Greg, Chris, Thomas, and Martin. I think I'm missing one person there.
The music for the service was absolutely bone-chilling. Dan sang, and sang beautifully. The songs were, sung a capella, "How Great Thou Art," "Amazing Grace," and "Jesus Loves Me."
The service itself was a little too preachy for my taste, but nice enough. I'm just not sure that doing a sales pitch for souls is appropriate at a funeral. Seems like it ought to be all about celebrating the deceased's life. Though, afterward, at the reception/lunch, Rob pointed out that it's appropriate, whenever a group is gathered, to "make witness" like that.
I followed the procession to the cemetery. Since my car was in the front of one of the four lines, I was looking right at the limo carrying the family. Rob waved to me from in there, and then the others sitting by the window did the same. It was a short ride, and we went to the grave site, which was right next to Denny's grave.
The words here were brief, the American Flag was folded and presented to Mrs. Stephenson... "On behalf of the President of the United States..." The pallbearers exited the area first, each placing the small flowers they had had pinned on their lapels at the end of the coffin.
I hugged Rob on the way out, and he invited me inside with the family for lunch. This was the same hall we celebrated Aaron & Rosalie's 50th wedding anniversary in back in 1995, and attended many of the annual family gathering and Christmas gift exchange. All a little older, and hopefully, a little wiser.
I said my good-byes to everyone, and Mrs. Stephenson said, "You are always welcome. Please come back." I told her to hang in there. She said, "I will."
I came back home, and logged back into work. Nothing pressing.
Later, I set my alarm for 6, and took a nap. At 6, got up and dressed, and left to meet Steve for dinner. I'm looking forward to catching up with him. Got there just after 6:30, and Will & Grace was on, which we watched. Every time Karen opens her mouth I laugh. I love her. This episode had Grace meeting the Woody Harrelson character. He's so sexy.
We went to El Dorado in Garner for dinner, and overate, as usual. Darrin and a friend (who I've seen at Flex and hangs around with Donnie, I think) were at the booth across from us. Steve reminded me of a story he had told me a while ago about Darrin, but I didn't realize at the time that it was this guy.
On the way home, we stopped by Timber Elementary and Steve showed me his media center and his office. It's absoultely amazing the things they are teaching kids in elementary school these days. It's just great, too, and those particular kids don't know how lucky they are to have a teacher who loves what he does and does so well.
Back at Steve's, we were on the computer for a little while. Nevermind. He did tell me about the Google tool bar, which I will definitely download.
Back at the house, as soon as I logged on, Robert came on AIM. We caught up a little... he has heard from his friend who sent him somewhat of a suicidal e-mail a week or two ago, so that's good. Disturbingly, he had a message from his friend Dennis, who is living with AIDS in California. He hadn't returned the call yet.
I thought back to the preacher's words today during the funeral, "Have you ever noticed how so many more people die in December than any other month?"