Coming up on Highway 55, I knew from the map that I had passed the address I was looking for, but I quickly saw a sign with an image of a plane on it and thought it might be a back entrance that I could use to get to it. That sign turned out to be for RDU, where I decidedly wasn't going.
I looped back onto Highway 64 and stopped at this little flooring, paint, and tile kind of place, where—to my misfortune—two people worked who wanted to be helpful but were new to the area and weren't familiar with my destination. They took the address I had written down upstairs to an office to use the Internet to help me, as I watched the big hand tick on some of the very few precious dots between where it currently was and 1:00, the start time of the funeral.
I eventually walked up there, looked at the screen, and saw that the turn I was looking for was just before that Highway 55 turnoff, so I thanked them and ran out of there. When I approached the entrance to the place, I could easily see how I missed it the first time. The entrance looked more like one to horse stables than an airfield, and as it turned out, there were horses there as well.
I would estimate that there were between 300 and 500 people present and after parking at 12:59, I joined the end of a line waiting to offer condolences to Sarah. The line turned a corner as you can see here, with the shadows on the ground of the people ahead of me.
Beyond Sarah, at the end of this line, was her son, Sam, and his wife Ashley, followed by her daughter Rachel also receiving attendees.
Mark was a lawyer with a huge firm and there were a lot of lawyers in attendance, to which the number of Mercedes and BMWs in the parking area attested. The four people ahead of me in line—including a lady directly in front of me—said to Rachel, "Hi. I'm a lawyer with Anderson. I worked with your father and I'm sorry for your loss."
When it was my turn, she smiled as she took my hand, and I said, "Hi. I'm John and I'm not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV. I work with your mother." She laughed.
Off to the left was Mark's private plane, one in which I was to learn he had a lot of adventures, and many of them with a lot of the people attending today. Last year he made quite a few humanitarian trips to Haiti bringing in emergency supplies, as well as medical professionals, to help after the catastrophic earthquake there.
I also learned—as one colleague, friend or loved one after another shared their memories—three things about Mark Ash, whom I personally had only met one time:
- That he was an incredibly well-respected lawyer—for his exceptional skills as a trial lawyer, for his role as mentor to many young lawyers in the firm, and for taking on unpopular cases simply because it was the right thing to do.
- That his passion for flying met, or maybe even exceeded, his ability as a lawyer.
- That he was immensely proud of and loved his family deeply.
On the way out, I marveled at the peaceful juxtaposition of the horses, transportation of ages past, to the runway with its transportation technology of today.
It was a very meaningful memorial service, the food was delicious—and there was a ton of it, and I left there contemplating life, what matters in it, and wishing I'd had an opportunity to have known Mark better.
I met Jen downtown at Noir Bar at around 8:00 where Striving for More was having a fundraiser. Our mutual friend, Jill Balogh, is on the board of this fine organization, and our biggest motivator for being there was to see Jill. As with most charitable giving, people donate as much, if not more, in support of someone they know in the organization as they do for the cause of the organization.
Jen used to babysit for the Baloghs, and I was a good friend of Jill and her husband John when the three of us all worked at IBM, in what seems like eons ago now. It was great to see both of them this evening. Also, Jen's brother Greg is best friends with John and Jill's son Nick, both of whom were there, too, along with Nick's girlfriend Corinne.
In meeting Corinne, who is a Materials Science major, I remembered this TEDxNCSU presentation by Dr. Marian McCord. Her talk was called, "Solving the Period Problem." Although—as it turns out—Dr. McCord is in Textiles Engineering, not Materials Science, which would explain why Corinne had never heard of neither her nor the project.
While at the fundraiser, Jen and I took advantage of a free photo booth and took four pictures:
After we took the pictures, for which a bunch of accoutrements were available to wear, someone had glitter all over them from one of the hats, and Corinne uttered this highly quotable line: "Glitter is the herpes of arts and crafts," which immediately went into a note on my phone to share with salon tomorrow night. We have this thing about glitter in salon.
Saying my goodbyes to John and Jill, I left there at about 10:00, changed into shorts and a t-shirt in my car—with a bunch of people stubbornly saying long goodbyes to each other across the street from me.
I headed over to Flex, where there was a porn star tonight, but which was not at all the reason I went. Those of you who know me well know that I hate it when there are porn stars there. The thing I don't like about it is that if they saw me on the street they wouldn't give me the time of day, but in the bar I'm their new best friend if there's a chance to get a dollar out of me. Bitter? Party of one? Your table is ready.
My main reason for going to Flex instead of The Borough was to see my friend Glenn, who was going to be there and who is just back from an RSVP cruise, and I wanted to hear stories.
He shared two funny tenets of the trip: "If it's tan, it's not fat," and "If your chest is bigger than your gut, then you're not fat." My kind of peeps.