I'm not even sure where to start when describing today. We left home early, stopped to pick up roses - red for Vic and pink for Phyllis - and drove out to Menno. We gathered at the cemetery just down the road from the church. There was a fairly good sized crowd that gathered to place the urns with Vic and Phyl's ashes into the ground. Vic's youngest son Curt had used one of the "Franz Shovels" to create a unique urn for his Dad's ashes. The two urns were placed in the grave, then Vic's Great Grandson Gabe placed his blanket in the hole as well. Others of the grandchildren and children added roses. Then everyone took turns shoveling the dirt back in.
Just as District Pastor Gary Jewell finished the final prayers, two of Vic's Flying Farmer friends did a fly-over. They circled and then came over, flying very low. One of the airplanes was a Cessna 210, which was the model of the last airplane Vic flew.
We adjourned to the church where services were scheduled for 11 AM. The church was full, a bit of surprise for a 96 year old man who has outlived many of his friends and peers. As part of the service, at Son Randy's request, I read John Gillespie Magee's High Flight -
Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun-split clouds, -- and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of -- wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air...
Up, up the long delirious, burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark nor ever eagle flew --
And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
(A sonnet that was always on a plaque in Vic's office.)
After a moving message by Gary Jewell, there was sharing by several of the people present, including a letter from Bob and Paula Kramer, long-time Flying Farmer friends.
After the service, lunch was served in the Fellowship Hall. On display was a montage of pictures of Vic and Phyl's life that Daughter Pam and Granddaughter Renea had put together. Lots of stories and laughter and tears were shared.
Following all the activities at the church, we joined the family at Curt and Ruthie's home. I got a chance to get in some baby cuddle time with little McKenzie, Grandson Pete's new baby. Dinner was TatorTot Casserole, a tribute to Phyllis's go-to company recipe.
It was a good day, a sad day, but a good day.