This morning, Thursday, we are in Pensacola, a motel on Palafox downtown. The pastor’s graveside service for Jim and his family was kind, loving, assuring and gentle, as much so as in any packed church. I was encouraged by the minister, and moved by James’ testimony about his dad as a tremendously loved man whose love for his family was extraordinary. I’m so glad we came over.
Jim I remember as a lanky blond teenage boy with a crush on my cousin, who would arrive at my grandparents house, this would have been in the middle or late 1960s, and so quiet and shy that he would sit in a corner chair of the living room and read while family chatter was going on. Years later after they married, I remember a new car, her saying they’d ordered a stick shift because “it would be cheaper to get it fixed,” and that the car had no hubcaps because it would be quicker to change a flat tire. With my orientation toward cars, I saw in fact a very hot machine, likely with the hottest V8 engine; not positive but seems to me orange and black, or maybe yellow and black, and not at all sure but thinking a Chevy Malibu that would have gladdened the heart of any stock car driver at the Sunday races.
They were a cute couple who stole the family’s heart. I’m so sad that fifty years on, Jim’s illnesses and pain brought him down, and devastating those who loved him. For all of them:
O God, whose mercies, wisdom, understanding and lovingkindness are beyond our understanding: as you grant Jim an entrance into the land of light and joy, in the fellowship of your saints, now deal graciously with his family in their grief. And so surround them with the loving presence of your Holy Spirit, that they may not be overwhelmed by their loss, but have confidence in your goodness, and strength to meet the days to come; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
While at St. John’s Cemetery I managed to find again the graves of those who loved me and whom I loved in life, or about whom I heard many stories growing up. The cemetery’ website simplifies the task of finding family graves again, and after the service I took the opportunity to visit. The Weller plot is in the oldest section just inside the gate, where it was in my early memory January 1947. Gentry grandparents are farther up and farther in, to borrow C S Lewis' phrase from Narnia, and always give me a search to find. At one time there was a large planting, seems to me a camellia, right close by, but it like most of the large plantings and many trees were destroyed by, I think it was Hurricane Ivan in 2004. After that blast that left it a bleak desert, the cemetery is back to green these dozen years later, but gone are the large old blooming plantings that were landmarks all my life.
We are in an interesting motel downtown, renovated nicely, perfect and adequate. One thing reasonably not included in the renovation is the old art-deco toilet that adds a charm even if it won’t stop running. The bathroom with shower but no tub (fine with me) makes me wonder if the adjacent oddly oversize closet space originally housed a bathtub, but IDK. Anyway, I like the place and the price was right.
Supper last evening at the Fish House, an outside table on a pleasant night. The restaurant, eaten there several times, overlooks Pensacola Bay eastward. But after a gourmet French lunch at Gulf Coast State College, we weren’t hungry for supper, only for the adventure, so ended with leftover fish, oysters and shrimp that, overnight in the motel refrigerator, may be breakfast.
pax vobiscum for a peaceful Thursday
DThos+ in +Time+