The street was lined with cars when we got there. I knew it would be this way. We got out of the car, walked up the street to the orange balloons tethered outside the gate of their beautiful home. We walked back toward the tennis court and the first thing I saw was her mustache…Carolyn’s.
I knew this evening would be filled with more than just tears, we’d laugh.
It was perfect as John always made everyone laugh.
Scott had to use the restroom so I waiting for him outside the door as I watched children run out of the backyard with little mustaches on.
As I was waiting, Lanny came out of the house dressed in a long orange t-shirt with camouflage tights and a sash tied around her waist. It was perfect as John seemed the most in his element while hunting. I could tell immediately it was her funny tribute to him. She turned to look in my direction and there she was…wearing a mustache.
She laughed and we shared the longest hug I think we’d ever shared. I asked her how she was doing and she looked around and just said, “Oh you know, hanging in there…”
|John and Lanny|
We walked over to where her daughter and granddaughter were and striked up conversation with them. The tennis court was streamed with white lights. A TV was set up on one wall playing an amazing video collage of John thru the years. Along the sides of the tennis court were tables set up with John’s many accomplishments as a lawyer and hunter and beautiful tributes set up to him as father and grandpa.
Last night I learned many things about John. That he was born in Minnesota on July 23rd in 1950, Graduated from The University of Idaho, was a butcher, Realtor at one point in his life, and even a teacher like Lanny. His family shared stories about him from birth up until his last days and the evening even included an SNL skit from his eldest daughter, with breaking news alert jokes that were supposed to be John chiming in from heaven. He loved telling jokes!
We could only be there for a few hours because we had to make the long drive back up to Flagstaff, but what I did see from all the family and friends in John’s life was that he lived a legacy. He touched many hearts, he made so many laugh and the night was filled with more laughs than tears, at least the part of the night we were able to see. I saw that he did most things in his life with love in his heart for others.
The drive back up to Flagstaff was a quiet one but I could tell that it affected Scott too who barely knew the man. Scott said that when he dies he wants it to be a celebration like this was. He didn’t want people crying. Although, I can’t say that people were’t crying. I was crying and laughing through the tears most of the evening. But I know it was done the way John would have wanted it, everyone feasting, laughing and enjoying one another’s company.
We made the two-hour drive back up and all I could think about is what kind of legacy do I want to leave behind?
What do I want the thoughts of others to be of me when I’m no longer around to defend it? I want there to be no question in anyone’s mind that I didn’t “love” with all my heart.
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