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I sometimes reach points in my life where several things end simultaneously. I'm at one of those now.

Yesterday was Papaw Ralph's funeral. It was a typical two-part ceremony — one part in the funeral home and one at the cemetery. Both parts were punctuated with religious words, and perhaps for some, those words provided a satiny smooth comfort. They really didn't do anything for me. However, I don't hold it against anyone who needs to hear those words, as long as they don't hold it against me for being an unrecoverable black sheep. There was, in fact, a surprisingly large flock of black sheep, eyes open and darting around during the prayers, searching out other secular folk and finding them.

Papaw was a World War II vet and he earned the Bronze Star. I have seen, separately, the three-volley salute, roll call, flag presentation, and Taps at funerals — but yesterday was the first time I've ever seen them all together. It was an impressive display and a moving tribute. I think the part that touched me the most was seeing this giant soldier probably half my age and twice my size kneel down in front of Nanny, wheelchair-bound and sobbing, and present her with the American flag from Papaw's casket folded up into a triangle. I don't think there was a dry eye in the place.

November is over, and a period of heavy rain has moved in. When it leaves, the temperature is going to drop. We're in the yo-yo of late fall when it flips from sixty degrees to thirty degrees in a twenty-four hour period. Yesterday was beautiful, but windy and cool in Beckley, even more so at the cemetery.

I made my quota for NaNoWriMo. The storyline is nowhere near done, but I'm going to take a break from it for awhile. Maybe in a week I'll look it over and get things in the order they're supposed to be in, then maybe in a month or so I'll drag it out and start smoothing things over some, filling in the weak parts and reworking what needs to be reworked. It's nowhere near being called a "novel" at this point, but it's a hell of a lot closer than I've ever gotten before... and I think it's a pretty good story. (Though I'll fully admit being biased.)

About eight months ago I took a chance on a temporary job in the hopes it would become a reliable full-time position. As of last week, it has — and it has for my office mate as well, who it turns out is a pretty cool fellow. I've felt an uncertainty over the last few months, because I knew the hours for the temporary position were running out and something needed to happen soon. Thankfully that uncertainty has now ended. I want it documented, for my future reference, that I took a leap of faith and it paid off.

Overall, though, I'm glad this month is over — goodbye November, begone with ye!

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