Finishing My “To Do” List before leaving for China

Today, my mom and I checked off the very last item on our “To Get Done” list while I was home: The setting of my dad’s USMC (United States Marine Corp) marker at his plot in our local Marshall cemetery.

Funeral Director Ed Pearce finally got ahold of us a few days ago and said the cemetery workers would have it in place Tuesday so after that, we could have a little memorial before I left. A small hole had been dug behind the stone for my dad’s ashes, which we family agreed would not be placed in an urn but just placed in the dirt ground. Pastor Richard Lewis joined us as well to say a few words.

We had already said our goodbyes in February, for the funeral itself, so this was just the final stage in my dad’s passing that needed attending to. In other words, no huge fuss and we finished within 10 minutes.

Ed was quick to point out that Frank Pearce, his father (the former mayor of Marshall), was just a couple rows in front of my dad. His tombstone was noticeably bigger, however, and was joined by numerous other Pearces.  (Big family!)

It was well-known in the community that Frank and my dad were very good friends. In fact, it was Mayor Pearce who went about selling cemetery plots around town to make more money for the city and the cemetery. This was how my dad came about, many years ago, to buy two plots, one for him and my mom.  Frank Pearce had basically talked him into it.

The two men were notorious for their sense of humor and antics about town. This morning at the cemetery, Ed made the comment, “Yeah, my dad is right over there. These two are going to have a lot of catching up to do!”

We figure they’ll be out talking all night, a brotherly reunion of lively discussions where each shares long forgotten anecdotes of their time together.  I imagine they’ll be joined by other Marshall men folk who want to enter into the banter as well, not to mention some of the women who knew the infamous, good-humored Bill Wieck as well.

Kind of nice to think of my dad in that light, his younger self, back with his old buddies once again, sharing stories and spouting clever, well-placed remarks.

Isn’t that the way we all want to remember our loved ones who have passed before us!  Makes me smile just thinking about it.

Until the next entry, this time from along the Yangtze, here’s wishing you Ping An (Peace) for your day.

About connieinchina

I have been in the Asia region for 18 years as an English language teacher. 13 of those have been spent with the Amity Foundation, a Chinese NGO that works in all areas of development for the Chinese people. Amity teachers are placed at small colleges throughout China as instructors of English language majors in the education field. In other words, my students will one day be English teachers themselves in their small villages or towns once they graduate. Currently, this is my second year in Guangxi Province at the 3-year college, Guangxi Normal University for Nationalities. The college is located in smalltown longzhou, 1 hour from the Vietnam border.
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One Response to Finishing My “To Do” List before leaving for China

  1. Kate Lindsay says:

    Connie, I’m so glad your dad’s marker arrived in time for you to partake in it’s placement with your family. Your sharing of the day activities….a definite celebration of your dad’s life. I just finished
    a book, Sgt. Reckless – American War Horse about a Mongolian mare that joined the Marines to carry ammunition to the front lines for the 75mm Recoilless Rifle Platoon of the 5th Marines during the Korean War and came afterward to the States. I thought of your dad while reading it…..perhaps he knew of this small mare.
    So you are about to head back…..suitcase packed and perhaps requiring 2 sets of hands to shut. China has been on our minds much the past couple of days. We have prepared a letter of introduction to the Embassy in Beijing inviting a former student to visit us in late January. We’ve Skyped, emailed, written and revised it and now are keeping our fingers crossed for prompt approval of her visa. Then today we finalized a short video for the former Chairman of a FTC English Corner with us wishing she and her Mr. Right “Best Wishes” for their upcoming Oct. 2nd wedding. Finally, we remarked on the maturity seen in the pre-wedding photos from a nerdly favorite at ECs that arrived by email from Bali.
    Safe travels as you return to Luzhou! May you find all well there. Look forward to your next note. Always, Kate

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