To A Funeral
I am grateful to Ed and Carol Gulley, we each put up with the creative craziness of the other.
Ed loved being photographed, any time, any day, anywhere. Carol never likes being photographed, but she grits her teeth and puts up with it, because she has to take photos herself now for her blog, the Bejosh Farm Journal and also perhaps because she knew it was what her farmer wanted.
We'll see how accommodating she is now that he is gone.
Visiting them in the late winter, I said I wanted to do an "American Gothic" kind of picture with them, pitchforks and all, and Carol got a pitchfork and Ed grabbed one of his iron flowers. It was vintage Gulleys.
Carol always went along, but you can see a kind of tightness in her face in the photos, whereas Ed always looked as if he just fell off of Mt. Rushmore. Carol is reluctant celebrity, Ed was a born ham.
The photo reminds me that we each stretched ourselves sometimes on behalf of the other, an important quality in a friendship. I had pretty much decided I wasn't going to Ed's funeral this Saturday, something was pulling me away from it.
I've written a lot about Ed and his sickness and death was draining for me, although so much less so for me than for Carol and for his children and grand-children. I just didn't want to go, perhaps I was just filled up with images of Ed lying in that bed, dying more and more, day by day. I'm not sure.
I also didn't feel as if I was needed there. Hundreds of people loved Ed, and many of them will be at the funeral. Most knew him longer than I did, and what could I really add to what they knew and felt?
I have a habit of thinking I am not really needed anywhere, an old habit that often ends up being a prophecy that comes true. Carol and the members of her family let me know that they understood if I couldn't come, no pressure, but they let me know that I was needed and that it did matter.
Carol had asked me earlier if I wished to read something, and I said no.
Then (Ed and I were friends for a reason, my ego began to itch, I love being in front of an audience just as much as he did) and I thought of something I would actually like to read at Ed's funeral service.
Podiums are my friend.
So there it is, I am going. If Ed is flying with the angels, then it was only natural for my better angels to check in with me, and say, yo, I think they would really like it if you came. So go.
Nuff said. And I can read from my own writing, nothing shabby about that.