Friday, October 23, 2015

When the First Petal Falls

I admit I had been out of touch.  I left our little town when I was 20 and never looked back.  I needed to see the world; there was so much more out there.  But now that I am older I have become more attached to my roots; this is an example of what I’m talking about.

I got the word last night that the first of our classmates had left us.  

Our class was small.  A few of the mates came and went and when we graduated 7th Grade, we had two classes.  But the original class was small.  

Kindergarten class
He was fourth from the left.  

I remember Gary just like that.  He was so cute and always smiled.  I don’t remember him ever being mean to me like some of the other boys were.  We were all together day in, day out.  We knew each other well.  We were in the same class year after year.  
Checking out the chicks

Playing Air Guitar

Singing Beatles' songs

He was there, yes, at the first boy-girl party of my life.  Jumping around, being crazy, like the guys usually were.  Let’s just say the guys kept things interesting in our little dull town!

Now I am saying all this because I will miss him.  I know, I know, I’ve not spoken to him in about 45 years!  But what his death represents to me is an awakening.  

When my mother died, my cousin said to me at the funeral that she so hated to see my Mother go because usually when one sibling dies, the other siblings follow.  I wasn’t so sure about this statement, but she is an educated person so I thought it noteworthy to remember what she said.  Sure enough, within the next couple of years, two of her siblings passed away… the oldest and the youngest!  

So this brings to light (again) that thought and to think of my own mortality and that of my classmates.  

Surely when a petal leaves a rose, it is still a rose, right?  Yes, it is the beginning of the dying process of the flower that has been cut.  It has a few more days of life (representing years, I truly hope).  

Nonetheless, my heart goes out to his family.  I know he will be truly missed, a man in his prime!  He was a wonderful man, a wonderful son, husband and father.  

This rose will miss you, Wilbur Gary Readdick.   And not to worry... all of US PETALS will be right there with you before you know it.