Saturday, July 26, 2008


The funeral of my dad was last weekend a week ago in Pearisburg, Virginia at the Birchlawn cemetery where his family is buried. We had a local military honors guard and veterans who did a flag ceremony, they shot off 21 gun salute and played taps then presented the flag to our mother. There was a nice group of mourners there including much of our family from that area down near his family home in Narrows, VA. His only surviving sister my aunt Alice knows lots of people down there since she never left.  Some of her friends turned out along with my mother's sister and nieces who still live in the mountains. I found it very helpful emotionally to shoot photos during some of the service which was a bit upsetting to my aunt Alice but one of the marines later said there wasn't any regulation against photography. We had a visitation at the funeral home in Manassas, VA on Friday July 18th then the next morning we took off to Pearisburg on a five hour drive for this service you see in the pictures. Friday evening I was surprised at some of my old friends who showed up at the visitation. One guy we used to call Waldo, now Jim Foster with  his wife Ellen Wood who used to be our next door neighbor were such a delight to see. I haven't see Jim since my first summer home from college back in 1975. He still has long blonde curly hair and deep blue eyes but we both have bigger waists. It was great to have a moment to slip back to the good old days of my high school adventures with him.  Also in attendance at the Friday night visit was another childhood pal Larry Ayers and his wife Holly. Larry and I go back to his first birthday party. His parents and mine went to college together in Blacksburg and Radford, VA then ended up living across the hall from each other in Huntington right outside of Wash. DC. by pure coincidence and they remained close family friends ever since. We have shared many happy times together, Dad even designed a large addition to the Ayers family home at one point in the late 1960's. Larry's parents provided a lot of support for us while Dad was in hospital and hospice and I am very grateful to Margaret Ayers for the foot lockers full of delicious foods she brought us that first week Dad was in the hospice. My sister Jenny was here with us almost at the beginning of the arduous weeks at hospital and hospice and Frank, her husband, came at the end to give support and he was a huge help with driving. Keith came home from a annual two week vacation with his family and joined right in our vigil then traveled with us to the funeral and for his first visit to Narrows and my grandparents house. 
I know this trip was hard for both of them and Frank and Keith seemed to be helping each other when the Nunleys got too thick.  Today is a week since the funeral and it is my aunt Alice's 81st birthday. I just spoke to her one the phone to wish her some happiness on the day. She seems glad to talk and tell tales any time. Today it was about the deer with three babies near her house up in the mountains and the neighbor's nephew Bobbie (41 years old) who was found dead this week whom they buried yesterday. She told me we can get a military benefit to pay for a tombstone for Dad's grave. She did for our adopted Uncle Lewis years ago. 
Today, Mom's best friend Mildred is visiting from her beach home in Myrtle Beach, SC and I had a chat with them both this afternoon. They seem to be having a good visit and it has lifted Mom's spirits to have Mildred there. I worried earlier in the week about what my mother will do now that she is alone but I am delighted she is free now to do a lot, if she can figure out what it is she wants to do. I had a nice visit with the relatives down in the mountains last weekend and I was sorry it was so short because all the fun of my childhood visits to grandparents came rushing back to me soon as we sat on the old glider on the back porch. It is so beautiful in the mountains this time of year. Green and cool and birds singing in every tree it is great to have Dad back down there where in such a beautiful place. 

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