I think it was the moment I saw the tie-dyed shirts, caught the scent of homemade Italian and felt the drummer really kick into One Tin Soldier that I realized this wasn’t just any memorial service.
I’d driven north from Denver to Louisville–a little town with immense character–found the Elk’s Lodge on Main Street and ventured in, wanting to connect with a friend who was saying goodbye to her big brother.
She’s had more than her share of partings in the past two-plus years. We actually got to know each other when our mutual friend Gail was battling pancreatic cancer. About a month ago, it was her father who passed. Now it was the Grateful Dead-loving angler with a sense of humor to match that of his little sis.
Overflowing buffet tables divided the sun-filled main room–where rock mingled with blues and young with elders–from the shadowed lounge area and its more somber mood. Photo boards in the front were paralleled by a slide show in the back, in which I watched a young man become middle age, his family circle grow, and his sense of adventure play out fishing with his dad, laughing with his niece, watching his sister win her tae kwon do sparring competition and enjoying time with his wife.
I was reminded of the final clip from Phenomenon, one of my favorites, where the community gathers in the oft-frequented bar to mark the first anniversary of the main character’s passing. It was a life goes on, so live it! scene, where the way one man had changed the world, life by life by life, was well-evidenced.
My kind of philosophy in action.
Photo: Petr Krachovil, http://www.publicdomainphotos.net