Funeral Stuff

So, it’s been one LONG LONG week.

I got into Omaha at 3pm. As I was walking into the baggage claim area I spotted my mother on the phone… I walk over to her and she tells me the news… :'( Lots of crying in the airport. Drove to the grandparents house and lots of crazyness. The week has really just been a blur. Tons of people in and out of the house, lots of people sleeping here, people brining fooooood and I mean TONS and TONS of food. One day we had 5 people bring lunch over. I honestly can’t remember much of what else has happened.

One morning I was a mess and texted Constantine that “I wish you could be here.” Because I was really needing someone to talk to besides family and stuff here and someone who knew just how much grandpa meant to me. The jerk never replied. You’d think of all people, he would at least CALL and talk to me a little bit. He knows how much I cared about grandpa. Ugh. Really, I have had some of the most random people send emails or call, people I haven’t talked to in years. And yet he couldn’t. Very annoying.

Wed morning we had the private family viewing which was nice. Grandpa looked really good. Thursday was the public viewing which had TONS and tons of people there. After wards the pastor came and chatted with the family and we all sat around talking about grandpa and sharing stories and stuff. I was bawling my eyes out there.

Friday morning was the funeral and of course that was very sad. My grandpa used to drive around town every morning, and you could always count on seeing his truck come around the corner, the pastor opened with that. He said that he always looked forward to Kenny driving by in the morning. He worked in all the stories that we had told the night before, and the buckets, rhubarb, bukeyes, and biscuits and gravy. We cried and we laughed, the church was packed.

After that we drove out to the cemetery. We were lead out by the Lenox Emergency Services and drove down main street and past the house. It was so sad. Got out there and he had the full honor guard and they did the whole flag folding and then we released some balloons. After taps was played all the firefighters pagers went off and they put out a last call for kenny black. The woman doing it could barely make it through. Even the funeral director broke down crying when he was trying to explain it to the family before hand. That went to the whole county which was very neat. The whole thing was just amazing to see how many people came.

My grandma was thinking that she’d get maybe 3 or 4 hundred for the memorials, but so far we have $1,700 already! She’s giving money to the Ambulance, Fire and School and then also going to create a Scholarship in his name.

Last night we all got a little crazy with my two aunts and my cousin and went out to the grave a few times and drank JB Whiskey and stuff. It was fun and refreshing.

Today we are all just chilling and trying to clean up the house and stuff and are going out to a nice place for dinner. I am staying till Monday and then going home.

Later all.

RIP Kenny Black

Grandpa Black and Me

Kenneth James Black was born June 26, 1926, on the family farm one-fourth mile south of Lenox to Edgar and Etta (Recknor) Black. He left this life on May 12, 2008, to rejoin departed family and friends after a long illness with lung disease. Kenny grew up on the farm, enjoyed riding horses and attended country school. He was a life-long member of the Lenox Methodist Church beginning as a member of the Cradle Roll.

He graduated from Lenox High School in 1944, went on to serve in the United States Army as Corporal in Company B of the 328th Engineering Combat Battalion during the Korean conflict as a chauffeur to Army Generals and foreign dignitaries in Washington, D. C. Upon his honorable discharge he served 10 years in the Army Reserve and travelled annually to Camp McCoy for training. He later joined the American Legion Post 250 and served as Commander and recently received his 60 year certificate of service.

In his youth, Kenny could be found running the projector at the Lenox movie theater on weekends. After high school and upon returning from the service he drove a truck for Miller and Roy Trucking. In 1950 he became a salesman for Dixon Motor Company. He won numerous Ford Motor Company 300-500 Club sales awards over the course of his 34 years with Ford. Later Kenny and Bud Carey purchased Dixon Motor and operated it until closing in 1984.

Kenny found his life partner, Clytha Spring and they married July 12, 1952. They welcomed three children into their family: Janell, Kenneth James Jr (Jim), and Sheila. They were blessed with three grandchildren Chris, Andy, and Rebecca and one great granddaughter Keira.

Kenny served his community in several different capacities. He served as a volunteer on the Lenox Fire Department for over 21 years, multiple terms on the Lenox City Council, Taylor County Sheriff’s Posse, and was Civil Defense Director of Taylor County for many years. Kenny was an original member of the Taylor County Historical Society and served on the Board of Directors. He was instrumental in procuring land for the museum, getting the Round Barn moved to the Bedford site, and was one of the grounds keepers.

In 1955 he passed through the Degrees of the Tremont Masonic Operative Lodge No. 343 and also became a member of the Salome Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star serving as officers in both. He later served as Rainbow Dad for Janell and Sheila.

He had many hobbies and activities to occupy his time. He spent time mowing Wilson’s Lake and watered the trees twice a week when the park first started. Kenny and Clytha started the Country Goose craft business in 1980 and created crafts until his health failed and he was no longer able to run the saw and do the sanding.

As an amateur photographer he enjoyed taking pictures of his family, civic events, and sites around town. He was creative and innovative as shown when he designed and built the “Stars for Illinois Street” annual Christmas display.

During his years as a member of the Sheriff’s Posse he helped with the Pony Express ride and spent countless hours parking cars for community events and was a trained weather spotter. He spent time qualifying at the target range and taught his son and grandchildren valuable safety and target lessons.

Through the years he always gardened. He made this a family event involving the kids and later the grandchildren. Kenny grew a record turnip that measured 23 inches around and weighed nearly 6 pounds. He loved to share the bounties of the garden with friends and neighbors. He loved spending time with his grandchildren passing on his knowledge to them and enjoying reading stories to his great-granddaughter Keira.

Preceding him in death were his mother Etta and father Edgar, brother Raymond and father-in-law Clyde Spring. Left to cherish his memory are his wife Clytha of 55 years, daughters Janell Black, Jim (Peggy) Black, Sheila (Dwaine) Mansfield. Three grandchildren Rebecca Weaver-Armes (Neil Hauser) of West Des Moines, Iowa; Chris Black of Redondo Beach, California; and Andy Black of Polk City, Iowa. He is also survived by one great granddaughter Keira Hauser, his mother-in-law Winnie Spring of Lenox and Raymond’s daughter Deb Black-Ralston (Jim Ralston) of Fontana, California. Surviving siblings are sister Betty (Dean) Weller of Sharpsburg and his brother Don of Lenox. He is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews.

Weekend Recap…

Ok, So I am on the plane now and thought I would take some time to write about the weekend.

Lets see, I really didn’t do to much during the week. I went to the gym with Dustin one day and no gym the rest of the week. Iw as pretty lazy. Friday I went out with Sirin and Christian to this place in downtown LA called Seven Grand. It’s a whiskey bar that Guerrilla Gay bar was hosting at. Tons and tons of fun! We hung out and talked and played pool and what not. Matt was there and I tried buying him a drink, but he declined. How sad! 🙁 OH well.

Drove back to my place after that and the three of us drank the bottle of wine that Constantine and I brought back from Austria. It was not very good. Christian spent the night and Saturday morning I drove him home and then was getting my car washed when I got the first of many bad news phone calls during the weekend. I had planned to hang out with a bunch of people and go to a gallery opening that night, but I cancelled all those plans and just ended up sitting at home all day reading and doing random computer stuff and debating about what I should do.

Sunday I got up and went rock climbing. It was just me and Jerry setting up so that was fun. We talked a lot and he taught me some interesting stuff. Jenny and Megan showed up and some other guy. We all did some rock climbing on three different climbs. I made it to the top of two of them and then failed on the last one. The last one is called Birdshit crack and I have yet to make it up that one. There’s this weird move you are doing because you’re coming out of this crack and have to turn and get yourself up somehow. Anyways, it’s hard to explian, but I just can’t keep my footing on it. Very annoying.

Had a great time rock climbing, but I got two calls during that with more bad news. After climbing we went up and had a picnic up on this mountian thing and just chatted and stuff. Lots of fun!

Drove home after that, called Constantine on my way home and of course he didn’t answer. I was debating about what to do and ended up just calling my boss and he said to go home and work from there. So I bought the tickets and then freaked out because my flight left at 5am Monday morning and this was 5pm Sunday night. So I had to arrange someone to take care of the cats and drive me to the airport and I had to pack everything. What a mess. I was freaking out.

My friend Rob came over and we hung out for like 45 minutes and watched some TV and caught up. It was relaxing to have him chill with me. He’s very laid back and cool.

Called Constantine again and left another message about me being in Houston on Monday for 3 hours and seeing if he wanted to have coffee or something.

He called back a little later and we talked. I was very angry with him and with everything else that’s going on and called him an asshole. As soon as it came out I felt so horrible. I wish I could have taken it back, rewind the tape…I didn’t know what to do. We talked about a lot of random things. Sounds like he’s having a great time in Houston, sounds like he’s moving on and forgetting about me and all the great times we had together. When I got back from Lone Pine….(stop me if I wrote about this already??) anyways, I noticed that someone from houston opera house and Halliburton had both spent a LARGE amount of time reading EVERY entry about Constantine and I all the way back to when we first met. I find this very very strange, why are they reading about all this a month after it happened. Why are they spending so much time going back and reading about everything that’s happened… I don’t get it. He said he knew they had done it. Sirin has her theory, but I am guessing that’s not the case.

Anyways… Being in Houston, being so close and yet so far away from him. In the short month I feel like we’ve already grown so far apart. I’m moving on very well, but with all this shit going on, I just want him back. I want to hear his voice and have him comfort me. After readin “Call me by your name”. I keep hoping that he’ll show up in Iowa, we’ll see each other from across the room, run into each other’s arms and kiss and swing each other around and be so happy (ala the wedding scene). I kept hoping while I was waiting in Houston that he would show up at the gate and say. “I’m comging with you”. I know that he won’t, but I need support right now, I could really use someone to lean on. To cry on his shoulder, to hold him and have it feel like everything will be ok. I wish he could be there in Iowa, to sit in the hot tub, watch the sky and talk about my grandpa with me.

My crying has been so random lately. I just can’t stop it. It’s very annoying.

On a funny note. There is this spanish couple in the seat infront of me on this flight, they have lunch on this flight (amazing!) anyways, they don’t speak ANY English, the flight attendant was aksing everyone if they knew how to say “Turkey” or “Ham” in spanish. No one knew. She had chicken, beef and fish on her little translation card, but no Turkey or beef. Anyways she started making farm sounds. It was really funny. Then they answered by mimicing the sounds. Very entertaining. lol. On the flight from LAX to Houston, I had the whole exit row to myself. That was very nice. 🙂

Heading Home

Well, when it rains it pours. I found myself booking tickets yesterday afternoon and am on my way back to Iowa now.

I am currently in Houston. What a perfect stop over.

Grandpa Black and MeMy grandpa has been in and out of stuff for the last month. This past week it’s gotten much worse. He’s in hospice care now. Yesterday they were saying he wouldn’t make it through the night. I just didn’t know what to do stay and work or try and make it home. I called my boss and explained to him that things weren’t good.

He said, “Go home and just work from there”. So I will be in Iowa till June 1st.

I love my grandpa. He’s been an amazing person in my life, he’s taught me so much, been there for me and it’s been so sad over the past few years to see him getting less and less active. We all knew this was coming, but we thought it would be a while yet. This has all come on so fast.

Anyone who knows me well knows how much I talk about my grandpa and how much I look up to him. I just wish this wasn’t happening. I wish I had had a little more time to go back and be with him while he was still able to comprehend what was going on…

The weekend itself had some ups and downs, but that’s all suited for another entry, another time.