Two acquaintances died lately and I couldn’t remember their correct names! Bicycle Pete used to be our neighbor years ago and eventually moved to Jasper, married and moved in with his in-laws.
“Bicycle Pete died,” my husband told me the other day. “That’s not his real name,” I said. “What was his real name?” But my husband couldn’t remember either. I often saw him when I drove through Jasper. He would be happily riding his bicycle and he would give me a nod as I passed by.
His family lived up the road from us years ago and they had an artisan well, just as we did. The pipe to this well stuck up from the ground and overflowed, forming an intricate ice sculpture in the winter.
Once I stopped at a yard sale Bicycle Pete had in his yard. I foolishly bought a tiny radio after asking first, “Are you sure this works?”
“I wouldn’t be selling it to you if it didn’t,” Bicycle Pete answered. I paid him the $2 and took it home. It didn’t work. I showed it to my husband who pointed out that there was nothing inside. That was okay – Bicycle Pete never had another yard sale and I wouldn’t have bought anything from him again if he had. I considered the experience part of my education.
The Shusher had died the week before Bicycle Pete. She sang in the ecumenical choir with Don and me and had a habit of regularly shushing the men because they tended to act like junior high boys when they got together for rehearsals.
Her sons asked if the choir would sing at her memorial service today, so we held a quick rehearsal at 12:30 and in her memory, the men turned and shushed each other. One of the songs went very well and when I skipped two of the notes in the other song, it also sounded pretty good. Her sons were pleased. They said the choir was a joy in her life.
The choir director shared the story of her shushing and everyone laughed, just as they laughed about her fast driving and having so much stuff stashed in her house that her neighbor didn’t bother to buy much. She just borrowed from The Shusher.
She was intelligent, educated, artistic and articulate. I learned this at her memorial service. Bicycle Pete was friendly and devoted to his daughter. He and his wife would bring her to school, each parent holding one of her hands until she was safely in the care of a teacher.
I’m curious what people will say when I’m gone. I hope they will have noticed that I loved my family, that I loved God, that my family never went hungry, and perhaps they will say I loved to sing and write. If they’re kind they will let out the part about reading when there was work to be done and the other part about the house never looking like a magazine picture.
It doesn’t actually matter a lot what they say, because I want my family and friends to laugh and have a really good time with good food, fragrant coffee and several kinds of tea served after my service. They can cry a little bit, for a little while, and then they should stop and go on living in the best way they can, loving God and their families and friends.
P.S. – my name is Anne. Try to remember that.