Thursday, May 17, 2007

Superstition Ride - - - Day 1

The day of the funeral I busied myself packing and checking stuff for most of the morning. Then I put brass strung celtic harp, my National Steel Body guitar, a small crate 25watt amp, and my "parlor" pipes into the car and drove to my friend's house. There were many other friends and family there. I made my presence known, and drove to the church.

I got with the sound tech at the church, together we decided that I would set up my own gear and run outside the church's system. I tuned the harp and began to play. For myself. I played some Bach, Turlough O'Carolan, some Palestrina, some Stephen Foster. When I noticed people starting to file in I winked at the organist and went outside to smoke a cigarette.

The family was just about ready to come in and be seated when I returned. As the honor guard brought in the casket I played "The Navy Hymn" (appropriate for a Marine) and "The Marine's Hymn." Then I went down to sit with my friends and my daughter.

The minister wasn't a complete and total asshole. He didn't blame the Iraq war on women's rights and tolerance of gays. He wanted to but he didn't.

After he read some stuff and harangued at little while I went up and played "A Sailor's Grave on the Prarie," on the national followed by my daughter joining me to sing "Mo Ghile Mar" while I played the harp.

I rejoined my friends while other friends and family members gave small little eulogies. I received simultanious elbows to the ribs from my friend and my daughter and went up.

All I said was "I loved this boy. I will miss him from now on. I would rather have been playing Mendholsson and Wagner at his wedding, and sung Irish lullabies to his children. Instead, today, I am doing what I must to honor the memory of a fine young man who has died too soon."

Then I played "The Ashokan Farewell" on the harp and picked up my pipes.

As the honor guard took him out of the church I followed behind playing "The Skye Boat Song."

At the cemetary I played "A Sailor's Grave on the Prarie" one more time because this young man loved that song. Then, after the salute and presentation of the flag I played "Amazing Grace" on the pipes.

I said my goodbyes at the cemetary. I had my daughter drop me off at the house and she went back to our friend's house to be with the family. I was ready to be alone.

I loaded Rosalita and her tack into the trailer, checked the water tanks to be sure that they were totally full and not leaking. I brought Sally and her gear up into it and fired up the old truck. It was about an hour and a half to get to the trailhead point where there are no motor vehicles allowed and I turned the horses out, put some water into a big bucket, threw some hay and made a light camp. It mostly was grinding up some coffee beans, brewing up some good black coffee and sitting there alone watching a glorious sunset. I listened to a little NPR jazz and turned in. I wanted to be riding out into the mountains at first light.




Blogger Daniel said...

Your love stroy is very beatuful, though it dose not have a good end. Someone on mentioned that love not means own. I think so...

1:07 AM  
Blogger Sherry said...

i liked reading this. you write well.
could you post a picture of your horses someday?

6:36 AM  
Anonymous Ralph H. said...

A heartfelt account of a tragic ceremony. No military man wants to go before his time, but none could ask for a better testament from a musical friend.

7:45 AM  
Blogger Rez Dog said...

Every soldier and marine should have a friend like you. I saw that same sunset reflecting off the cliffs in Window Rock. I wish everyone could experience that peace. Maybe there'd be fewer fallen soldiers.

8:37 AM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

when you move to washington rez dog, you will miss our sunsets. of course, there's nothing to stop you from making the occaisional visit. there is an old apache custom where any decision for going to war (raids and horse stealing excepted) had to be approved through the council of grandmothers. the grandmas held veto on that one. of course, there were some pure ass tough grannies among the apache, but still, it's something to think about.

i would settle for presidents and congress following the procedures lined out in the consitution.

4:05 PM  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Eloquently spoken. I feel your sorrow, and I feel that ripple out into the world--magnified how many times each day?

Thank you for letting us see what it was like for you, and I am sorry for your loss.

3:16 PM  

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