Sunday, November 2, 2008
Funeral for a Friend
Kathy and I drove to Cincinnati on Thursday so that we could attend Uncle Jim's funeral. Our cousin Gene and his wife Rita are always gracious about us staying with them when we are in town. Unfortunately Rita had to go to Michigan to be with her mother, so we didn't get to see much of her. First on the agenda was supper at Skyline Chili. There is nothing like this unique local chili served over spaghetti and heaped with shredded cheddar cheese. Yum! Fortunately you can purchase dry mix or frozen chili to bring back to the uneducated St. Louis market. Friday afternoon we picked up Aunt Betty and Aunt Margie, mom's remaining two sisters, for a long lunch. We knew that Saturday would be very busy with the wake and funeral, so we wanted some time with them without the crowds. Two of our cousins were able to join us, so the six of us had a nice three hour lunch. Thank goodness for Golden Corral, as they do not care how long we occupy a table. Thank goodness for my waist line that I did not eat for the entire three hours! Cousin Gene opted for a game of golf as that was preferable to sitting with us for all that time. That worked for all as we like to have our girl talk without men's ears around. Saturday we left Gene's around 7:45 a.m. and grabbed a bite to eat on the way to the funeral parlor. The wake found the funeral home packed to capacity with Crusham relatives and friends. As Uncle Jim has an identical twin, it caused quite a stir as people would catch a glimpse of Uncle Mick and for a moment be fooled into thinking Jim was still alive. A practical joker, I think Jim would have gotten a kick out of that, though I think it was pretty emotional for the kids. Numerous photos were spread throughout the three rooms, indicative of a life filled with love of his family, friends and his country. My cousins and I lamented the fact that it seems to take a funeral to bring everyone together. Following the wake, the longest funeral procession I have ever been part of traveled to the church for the funeral. Many tears were shed as Jim's life was remembered by his children. The 12 grandchildren carried up the offertory, and each had a single carnation which was placed in a glass vase on the altar. Even the college boys in this procession cried, and their love of their grandfather was very evident. Following communion, Jim's son Jimmy spoke of his father, and ended with the declaration that he was proud to be Jim's son, which again brought everyone to tears. My poor sister had been asked to read a tribute written by Jim's twin, Mick, and it following Jimmy's talk. She mostly cried her way through it, but she did get the job done, relaying Mick's love and bond with his twin. Jim had always called Mick his "Womb Mate", which again indicated his wonderful sense of humor. Upon conclusion, there was not a dry eye in the church. We proceeded to the cemetery for a final prayer, and then to Tom Crusham's house for a buffet. Tom's daughters had put together a slide show of photos of Jim's life, which was very touching. Lots of stories were told, and being Irish, a toast was raised to the memory of a very special man. Though we are all happy he is finally released from his pain, he will be greatly missed.
On our way back to Gene's Kathy and I stopped at St. Joseph's Cemetery to visit mom and dad's graves. After that we went to see the Veteran's Memorial which was newly erected by Delhi Township. Any member of the community who served their country can have their name engraved on the memorial. I had submitted dad's honorable discharge papers to the township, and a relative had indicated that LeRoy Kubler's name is indeed on the wall. I know that if my dad were alive he would not have submitted his name for inclusion. He believed he was just doing his job in serving his country during WWII, and would not think he did anything out of the ordinary to deserve having his name on a memorial. But I know what he missed out on as he spent time first at Jefferson Barracks and then in India, not the least of which was the births of his first two children. My sister was 18 months old when he saw her for the first time. I believe dad did plenty to warrant having his name displayed in this memorial.