Eastrose loses its members the hard way some times. People die.
Michael and I went to church this morning in the car. I turned on a tape I had been playing on my own. I wanted Michael to hear it. It was Ava's man by Rick Bragg and also read by the author in a soft, sexy southern voice. It is some of the greatest southern writing you can read or listen to. Almost every sentence has some phrase or image that makes your ears lift with happiness.
We were going to church for the second time in a three day week-end and knew we would go again on the third day. We might not have gone today, there being only so much church a person should go to, but Lee's ashes were going into the ground after the service.
I turn on Rick Bragg and he reads about how his people, hill people from the border of Alabama, Georgia, have the intelligence to forget funerals. He is writing a book about his grandfather and can't get anyone to tell him about the funeral. He says they don't want to remember the funeral and the pale bodies in open caskets. They want to imagine that person is just in the next field, gone for a little walk or drive. It's better that way.
I feel that about Lee. He was a gentle presence at Eastrose. Quiet and good natured, getting quieter every year. He paid attention though, surprising me recently by knowing the year my oldest son graduated from college. Underestimated (perhaps) by all the bright wits we have hanging around our little fellowship. He hunched over more and more leaning on a cane. Maybe he just went down the street, to see a man about a dog. He'll be back later.