Archive for the ‘Obituaries’ category

Funerals

April 23, 2017

Today Paula went to the funeral for the former organist/pianist from Ocean View Baptist Church. We asked Mary if she would like to go. We explained who she was and that Mary probably knew her at one time. But of course, the name didn’t ring a bell. Showed her a picture of her. Nothing.

Here’s the thing. Right now at this time in her life Mary does not like going to funerals. Doesn’t matter who the person was. She doesn’t want to go. She won’t go. Period. End of discussion.

Normally I would have gone with Paula, but I decided to stay with Mary.

So what is it about funerals with Mary? We have tried on many occasions to have a discussion with her on what she would like for her own funeral. We get nothing. We get stonewalled.

We ask cremation or not? Where would you like to be buried? The only guidance we got was that she wants Harold’s ashes buried with her. (Harold died in 2009 and was cremated.) That we can handle. So many questions.

So Paula and I are the ones stuck with the decisions. Paula is an only child. So there’s no sibling to talk to. Somehow, we will come up with a plan. That’s both a blessing and a curse. No one to argue with but at the same no one to share the load.

I found a blog a few years ago that I thought gave me some thoughts and insight. The blog is called “The Inspired Funeral“. Take a look.

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Leonard Cohen, RIP

November 11, 2016

11cohen_leonard_web1-master768I was saddened to hear today that Leonard Cohen had died. Mr Cohen had such a great body of work, it’s hard to know where to start. Here are the lyrics to the opening stanza to “Hallelujah”

Now I’ve heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don’t really care for music, do you?
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah

Here’s a video of a performance of “Hallelujah”:

Leonard Cohen’s most recent album was released in October 2016. Here’s the link on Amazon. Also, get the “Essential Leonard Cohen“. As if there isn’t any non-essential Leonard Cohen.

One more song and then I’m done. This is the song “Suzanne”. I think the first version I ever heard was the one done by Judy Collins, long, long ago. One of the first loves of my life was named Suzanne. Long, Long time ago.

RIP Dick Nicoll

August 16, 2016

Dick at Jake Wirth’s before Grand Lodge Quarterly in Boston.

Our good friend Dick Nicoll died on Monday. Dick was a past master of Thomas Talbot Lodge in Billerica, MA and a past district deputy grand master of Massachusetts Grand Lodge AF&AM [ A note to men who are reading this: When was the last time you had your PSA checked? PSA stands for prostate specific antigen and indicates the possible presence of cancer in the prostate.] Early detection is so important in saving lives. Sometimes early detection only delays what is inevitable. For Dick, it probably meant a few extra years to be with his family. Here’s the link to Dick’s obit.

The above picture is the way I like to remember Dick when he was healthy. I would rather not remember Dick as he looked after suffering the ravages of cancer. The picture was taken at Jake Wirth’s which is a pub that is [conveniently] around the corner from the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. Thomas Talbot masters and wardens would meet there for lunch every quarter for the Grand Lodge Quarterly. Good times indeed.

jake wirth

Whatever Dick did, he was all in. He was actively involved in Lodge, Boy Scouts and Church. Whatever Dick did, he did it with a smile on his face.

Dick and is wife Carol shared many happy years of marriage. Both were very interested in their Scottish heritage. He served as an officer in multiple capacities of the Clan MacNicol Society. Over the past few years Carol and Dick enjoyed several trips to Scotland.

After Dick’s diagnosis, Carol retired early to assist in his care. With his doctors’prescriptions and an exquisitely healthy diet, he was able to live six years longer than his doctors had originally expected.

Dick’s wake and Masonic funeral service will be on Thursday. It saddens me that I cannot be there for Carol. This is one of the problems I have with living on the west coast and friends who live on the east coast. Attending funeral services would be expensive. Air fare, rental car and hotel would cost upwards of $2,000 for the two of us. It’s just not in the budget. In addition to the travel costs, we would have to arrange care for Paula’s mother and that’s not cheap either.

So Dick was 69 when he died (born in January 1947). He was about a year older than I am. It bothers me no end when members of my generation pass away. It bothers me more when friends who were 10 years younger than, I pass away. Living a long life is such a blessing. Of course it is also a curse in that you see your friends die before you.

So mote it be.

Joe

RIP Bob Ciriello

July 22, 2015

Bob CierelloOn Tuesday, Paula and I attended a memorial service for Bob Ciriello. Bob was one of Harold’s friends and contemporaries. They taught high school together in Long Beach many years ago. We tried to encourage Mary to attend but she would have none of it. It seems lately that she really doesn’t like to going to funerals, wakes and memorial services. So Paula and I end up paying our respects for her.

Paula tells stories of her father and Bob making wine in Bob’s garage.I only met Bob once or twice probably during one of our visits west thirty years ago. Here’s the obit in the Daily Breeze.

The memorial service was a small affair that was held at the South Bay Botanical Garden in Palos Verdes Peninsula. There was a string quartet that played before and after the service. The location was next to the Koy pond. Here are a few pictures that I took. It sort of reminded me of the Arnold Arboretum in Boston. One of these days we will have to go back and spend some more time there.

2015-07-21 11.17.17 HDR 2015-07-21 11.19.04 2015-07-21 12.13.13 2015-07-21 12.13.40

One of the last pieces that the quartet played was a traditional Shaker tune called “Simple Gifts”. Here is a performance by Yo Yo Ma and Alison Krauss for you listening pleasure. I have also downloaded the sheet music from Musicnotes.com for my iPad. So my OES and Lodge friends will be hearing it soon.

Pink Flamingos

June 24, 2015

Pink FlamingosIt was with great sadness this morning when I read of the passing of Don Featherstone. Who was Don Featherstone you might ask?

Don Featherstone was the creator of the plastic pink flamingo. Click here for the obit in the NY TImes.

It brings to mind a fund raiser for the youth group at our church a number of years ago. It worked something like this. A flamingo had a ziplock bag tied to its neck with list of names inside the bag. The flamingo would be furtively place on a member’s lawn. The instructions in the bag told you that you’d been flamingo’d by the youth group and add to pay a fine.

Your job was to put on the next person on the list’s lawn without being caught. If you were caught planting the flamingo your fine was doubled. And so it went. The pink flamingo would make its way around town. (mostly at the dark of night)

Perhaps you’d like to buy a pair of flamingos? Not a problem. Head on over to Amazon and the good folks there will be able to fix you up. Click here While you’re at it you can buy some Star Trek Lawn Gnomes over at Thinkgeek.com Click here for the gnomes.

Alas, I now live in a condo and don’t have a front lawn. We do have some common areas of greenery, but our condo association might not take kindly to a pink flamingo planted there.

Mr Featherstone said in an interview that he had to keep all of his flamingos in his back yard. If he put them up front the college kids would keep stealing them.