Too Distracted

From Fog of Grief

When I read about D’s husband passing this morning, I lost it. Her blog post was just overwhelming, I can’t imagine what she is going through.

I’ve been to three funerals in the last two weeks, and I know I’m a little worn out from grieving my friends, coworkers, and family. I’m in my own fog, and trying to find practical ways to offer support.

D’s blog was full of her family things, her delightful grandson, and her recent fight with cancer. This latest loss, has me in prayer, and wishing I lived closer to offer some kind of support. If you know Diane, please keep her and her family lifted up.

Grief is an odd thing, and it sneaks up, especially when there is so much loss going on right now.

Hug up your families.

Polkas, Shiner, and a party to send off Papa Jack

My husband on the right, and his brother Tom on the left. My husband definitely looks like his Uncle Jack.

The third funeral this month. Uncle Jack, Papa Jack, Alvin Jack Klesel, of Schulenberg, TX.

Uncle Jack was my favorite of my husband’s family. Since I started dating my husband in 1991, Jack was always kind to me.

Jack was just one of those souls that connected with everyone immediately. He didn’t know a stranger. He was fun, interesting, loving, kind, funny, smart, and just always engaged in what was going on.

He served in WWII, in the Army Air-corps in the Burma/China Theatre. As a clerk in the intelligence wing, he debriefed the Doolittle Raiders upon their return from Tokyo.

When he returned from the war, he had a Grocery Store, the Shiner Beer Distributorship, a Truck Repair shop, and an Insurance Agency.

He had great stories, a great family, he was always involved in his community and church. It was a great honor that one of the Bishops from the Galveston-Houston Diocese came to give the Funeral Mass for Papa Jack.

After leaving St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, we took the short walk to the cemetery for the graveside service. The VFW officers, and the Knights of Columbus in Full Uniform with swords were on guard. It was a full military service with a 21 gun salute, Taps, the flag folding and presentation. I lost it when they started playing Taps. It was a two hanky cry, for sure.

There was more though! Chris Rybak, “The Accordion Cowboy” played As The Saints Go Marching In as things were wrapping up. We went from crying to singing along, just like Papa Jack would have wanted.

We walked from the Grave site to the Knights of Columbus Hall across the street for the Reception. Everyone who attended the funeral was invited, and encouraged to come. This was a big thing, especially since the Bishop showed up to give Mass. The church was full.

There was beer, a big fried chicken lunch, lots of Kolaches, German Chocolate Cake, Strudel, pies, and Iced Tea.

Chris Rybak, one of Jack’s favorite Polka guys, played all through the reception, and of course, several got up to dance. Just like Papa Jack would have wanted.

I sincerely hope I don’t have to go to a funeral for a while. But this one, for a 96 year old man, who served his country, his community, his church, and his family, is something I will think about for a very long time.

Laughing and Crying

I mentioned the loss of our dear friend Carruth.  

Carruth was always the life of any party.  A big cowboy, 6’plus, always had his hat with him, a really big truck, a big dog, sometimes a pot belly pig.

He loved to dance, and when I was dating David, we all went out dancing every weekend.  He was a big personality, that was often irreverent, but always loving.  He loved to golf.  He dressed up with a priest collar in one event, and invited the ladies to come ‘bless his balls’.  Always had a cigar, and always had his scotch.  Always good to everyone.  Carruth is the tall one in the red shirt and aviators.  My boys are in the yellow and green, laughing cause they got Cigars, and mom would be mad about it.

David needed a new shirt for the funerals this week. As we pulled into the parking lot to look for shirts, this song came on the radio.  I got all teary, then I started laughing.  I was laughing because, this is just soooo Carruth, and crying because I’m really going to miss him.

If you ever knew Carruth, he’d be the guy driving the get away car, breaking into the funeral home, and putting all the quarters in the juke box.

Save a dance for me, I can’t wait to see you again, you big Cowboy.  Love you.


Holidays and Funerals

Image from Pinterest.

It’s been a bit of a sad month.

A Cousin, an Uncle, a Co-worker, and now a Dear, dear friend have all passed this month. Two funerals down, and 2 more to go.

When I got the news that a dear friend had passed on Thanksgiving. I had a really hard time with it. Carruth Gerault was a Big, Big, personality. I’d known him since 1991. He was with my husband when we met at a Christmas party. He helped me meet realtors when I was a fledgling loan officer. He helped me get involved in the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. His daughters babysat my boys. He was always my friends always good to my boys, and when my husband proposed to me…….he took my husband aside and told him that he was happy for him, and that if he screwed things up with me he’d kick his butt.

Carruth had remarried 10 years ago. He was a confirmed bachelor for 15 years after his divorce. He was so cute. When he was telling us about meeting his beloved Claudia, he had showed up for a construction job he was consulting. He said ” She opened the door, and I couldn’t speak. All I could think was ‘ I am going to marry this woman.'”

I’m going to sincerely miss “the mouth of the south”. He was a really tall, skinny Texan, with a big hat. His parents were personal friends of Billy Graham. He loved God, and Scotch, and dancing, and the rodeo, his family, and people. Carruth loved people, and people loved Carruth.

God Bless you Carruth, God speed you home.

Thank you Gene.

I adored you.

When I was 8, my parents came home from Young Frankenstein laughing.  I loved seeing them laugh.

When I got older, I got to see your movies.  I adored them all, but my favorites were Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein.

I watch them at least once a year, so I’ve seen them at least 30 times since I was old enough to watch.

I saw Mel Brooks recently interviewed, he opined that it was too bad that Blazing Saddles couldn’t be made today.

Image credits You Tube, Movie Stills.

Community support, tradition, ‘got your back’.

My friend Kimberly and I met up this morning and made our way to the big 2nd Baptist Church on Woodway and Voss Dr in Houston, TX.

The viewing started at 10 am, the service was at 11.

Amazingly, we made it into the parking lot.


Yes, that’s a 1/2 dozen box of glazed donuts on the Sheriff’s trunk.  A little levity during such a somber time.

There was close to 11,000 people there.  They simulcast the services to all four 2nd Baptist campus’ all across the city and to all the police precincts and annexes.  When was the last time you went to a funeral with 11,000 other people?  It was a very moving tribute that included law officers from NYPD, to Washington State.  We saw badges, and emblems from cities across Texas, including 4 Texas Rangers that sat in front of us.

There were firefighters, and two Tower Trucks with a massive American flag to welcome folks to the church.


All the law enforcement officers lined up by unit under the Tower Trucks for the color guard, and the 21 gun salute.  A great sea of hats was a very impressive sight.


The helicopter fly over was very impressive, and they performed the missing man formation for the occasion.

There were hundreds of bikers there.  All in their leathers, patched, and there to show solidarity for the officers in mourning.  We followed “La Familia” out of the parking lot.  They were very lovely people, and thanked us for letting them go in front of us.

One of the most touching moments of the ceremony was during Pastor Ed Young’s closing.  He encouraged us to ‘have the back’ of the officers who ‘deliver us from evil’.  He was quite passionate and prophetic about the changes that will come in our society, and that he knew the change was coming because of the outpouring of support that came from Deputy Goforth’s murder.

Dr. Young encouraged the children of Deputy Goforth, telling them twice that their father did not ‘die in vain’.

There is a Go Fund Me page for the Goforth’s, if anyone is interested in making a contribution.

I’m very grateful to my friend Kimberly who gave up her day to go with me.  I’m grateful for the law officers who do their jobs daily, with little or no thanks.  I’m very grateful for the peaceful existence I can enjoy because of their diligence and care.