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Yesterday another memorial service was held at #VFW Post 9638 in Galmey, Mo., where my dad was a proud member of the #honorguard. I arrived first and early from my solo trip through back roads and winding hills (which I failed at showing in my stories yesterday), welcomed with open arms, bear hugs, gentle kisses, and cherished stories of the kind and happy man my father was. I was further greeted with his tiny glass and a bottle of #buschlight, as my face, particularly, was greeted by streaming tears shared with salt-of-the-earth kind of folks, like Buck and Gene; played “Whiskey River” on the jukebox (to this day Willie Nelson is my favorite musical artist and storyteller) in a smoke-filled room - which in 1978 only cost the vets and bar flies around me a handful of dimes as I ate my jar of maraschino cherries disguised as a bottomless supply of Shirley Temples. It cost ME two bucks and I didn’t get the satisfaction of pressing firmly on those tar-stained buttons. At three years old, I had no idea of the significance of playing that song on repeat, only interrupted occasionally by John Prine’s [protest song] “The Great Compromise.” The ladies auxiliary made tons of food to feed family and friends who traveled to attend: a mash-up of meatloaves, potato casseroles, egg dishes and those crazy meatballs and little wieners in a cloyingly sweet grape jelly and ketchup sauce ... followed by even sweeter Texas sheet cake, and some additional affection. Not only were these men and women serving us, they were mourning a brother and a true friend. To that end I’m both sorry and grateful that they have all entered our lives the past decade as he made his retirement home at lake Pomme de Terre. Our lives were all enriched by his keen ability to never meet a stranger. After laughing and crying with many people in this room, I know our lives are forever linked, by an amazing love for one guy. My daddy. I remember a Maya Angelou quote that fits perfectly here: “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” One more celebration to go on Sunday before his inurnment.

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