“It is so nice to look around the room and see so many familiar faces that have been here since the beginning,” Walt Hesleph said quietly to me as we stood in Jay and Donetta Anderson’s kitchen.
Walt was right. It was good. And, it was sad at the same time.
“There is something fulfilling about it,” I replied. “We’ve all sort of grown up, grown old together. And, we hardly see each other since our kids have grown and gone.”
Many of us in the room all built our homes about the same time. It was when our homes were new and our children were young. My heart filled with memories as I looked into those faces swimming around Walt and me.
When I greeted Lynn and Mickey Falkner, I remembered one of the first times I met them. We were visiting them at their place, when one of their large, multi-colored roosters jumped as high as my daughters Jessi and Kilee were tall, scaring the two small girls. They ran away as fast as they could, to the protection of the Falkner’s huge St. Bernard. It was something no one in my family has ever forgotten.
“I’m sure we can all remember some of Mike’s little sayings?” Donetta said.
“Our lost Longhorn!” raced through my mind as she spoke.
Mike McDonald came into our lives from Texas and he stayed here, came home here, and became a part of our neighborhood family, almost right up to the time he left us. We were gathered at the Andersons to remember him. To celebrate his life and to show our united love and support for his wife, Susan.
As I stood next to Susan, I remember her once telling me that she thought Mike had seen every Texas, Longhorn football game ever played, more than once! He was at home with us and forever a Longhorn fan. He never forgot his roots. We loved him for that and everything else he brought into our lives. Now, Susan was whispering something more to me.
“I don’t know what I’d have done without you,” she said.
“I don’t know what we would have ever done without you and Mike!” I replied.
Walt was exactly right. It was nice to look around the room and see so many familiar faces that have been here since the beginning.
It was good. And, it was sad. Sad because we lost our beloved Longhorn! Good, because he added so much to our little community. We would have been incomplete without him. Happily, we’ll never forget him. We still have Susan and we still have each other.
Lynn Butterfield lives in Erda and is a managing broker for a real estate company.