Tuesday, August 19, 2008
We arrived in Bennington, Idaho, on Thursday night after a fun but long Wednesday. It was nice to see everyone again, and it was fun to watch my daughters so easily fit with their big cousins.
Ah, those big cousins. Kayleigh went along with James and Daniel to do some errands. She said it was the most fun she'd ever had running errands. James, I'm told, is almost as crazy a driver as I am. Later, we took turns on James's motorcycle, which, fortunately, doesn't go very fast, but it does go through ditches quite nicely. And after that it was time to go shootin' in the orchard. We blew Mountain Dew out of trees, at which point, Kayleigh was feeling like she never wanted to go home again.
Kelsey was a bit more sedate, choosing to make bead jewelry after she burned her leg on the motorcycle. She regrets not going shooting now, but at the time, her leg really hurt.
More family arrived later, and it was getting to be quite the reunion. I told Lee, my sister-in-law, that it bugged me it took Clint's death to get us all together, then I started to cry. She said that's the way it always is, which I suppose is true. But Clint would have enjoyed himself with everyone around, and it just reinforced what a raw deal he got.
The next day was the graveside service, and Lee was very nervous. I just hoped I could keep it together. One look at the hole in the ground and a rock with my brother's name on it and that was blown to hell. I wandered toward some trees away from the group and started tearing up. The harder I tried to stop, the more I cried. Kelsey came over and held my hand and rubbed my back, the sweet thing, so I just blubbered.
After mostly composing myself, I turned back to the assembly to find the small kids peering into the hole and shouting about how deep it was, and one of them took a seat and dangled his legs in, ready to jump. I thought it was kind of funny, but the parents of those involved did not.
Lee's sister Lyona offered a shoulder, literally. She said if I needed someone, I should just go stand shoulder to shoulder and we'd hold each other up. Then she pressed into me, and we held each other, shoulder to shoulder, our eyes getting red and drippy.
I won't say too much about the service itself. Mostly because I can't remember what people said, but I do remember it was quite nice. Lee spoke about their courtship, marriage, and family and some about Clint's last day. Each of Clint and Lee's kids did their part. Daniel sort of ran things, Sarah said a lovely prayer, Ben consecrated the ground and James lowered the box, which he had to drop because the hole was so deep. After that, I sprinkled some Wisconsin dirt over the box, and that was pretty much the end of it. Ah, the bishop was there, too, but he didn't say a lot.
We took some pictures, then went back to Lee's for food. Lee's cousin Susan brought her scooter over for people to ride. Kayleigh took it around the back yard a bit, but didn't venture onto the streets. I gave Lee's nephew Cole a ride. Cole was hilarious. He held on so tight and giggled as soon as we got going. At the end, he proclaimed, "I was brave!" My sister Martha has a scooter story now, too, but that's hers to tell.
I slipped away to Lyona's house around the corner for a visit with Lee's sister Jackie and her partner Dorothy. When we met last December, I felt an instant bond with them, and it was nice to have some quiet time together.
The evening was spent in front of a fire pit just talking and enjoying each other. After a while, a couple of neighbor friends stopped by and talked about their time in Russia farming. The man, whose name I can't remember, asked Kayleigh where she was. She gave her 14-year-old "huh?" as a response. He said, "Are you pre-mission, post-mission, married, high school...." She said, "Um...." So Lee asked her where she'd like to do her mission, which also got an "um." I said she'd like to go to Pixar. In the dark after a day like that, it wasn't the place to explain our nonconforming ways. We just had a laugh and moved on.
And that was pretty much it. On Sunday, we shared a pancake breakfast, then, for the most part, went our separate ways. The girls and I went on to Boise to visit a friend of Kayleigh's for a few days. Much of my family went to Salt Lake City, but my sister Cynthia headed to Las Vegas where she won $1,000 on a penny machine. Nice.