by Brian A. Hopkins


With age comes the inevitable loss of people close to you. I suppose this is a phase of life we all must go through, part of the great journey, and as I approach the half-century mark I should prepare myself for more of it.

Earlier this year, I lost my father. I haven't written yet about the regret I feel for all the time we never had together, for all the things I should have told him. I didn't get to say goodbye, as I was diving in the Turks and Caicos. By the time I found out he was in the hospital, he was already gone. Getting home ... well, nothing moves fast in the Caribbean. I'm not sure I'll ever be able to write about the loss in any meaningful terms -- which says just how poor of a writer I am -- but I will say here that I took some of his ashes with me to Alaska. Not to scatter them (though I did briefly consider sprinkling a bit of him here and there, letting his molecules fuel good things on a broad geographic scale, and would have done so had I been so moved during the trip), but more just to take him along. It was a trip he'd have never made with me while he lived. He wasn't fond of traveling and certainly didn't share my love for motorcycles. But I wanted -- needed -- his company. Can't explain it any better than that and don't intend to. Perhaps he'll accompany me on other adventures. Time will tell.

What I wanted to write about here, however, was someone else to whom I had to recently bid farewell. Growing up, I had a second mother. Granny Kay we all called her. She was Katy Rose Smith, my best friend Dalton's mother. She died late last year. Like my father, gone before I knew she was going. This past week, I rode down to the Gulf Coast to visit my mother. On my way home, I made a point of passing through DeKalb, TX where Granny Kay is buried.

DeKalb, TX under stormy skies. The Wikipedia entry says Dan Blocker (Hoss Cartwright of Bonanza) was born there. With a population of only a couple thousand, it's a town where people still ride horses down main street on a quiet summer evening. (I was passed by several as I stopped to take this photo.)



Oak Grove Cemetery. About half the size of a football field. Just west of town.



The Cordell (her maiden name) family plot.

"Mother to Many" ... including yours truly ... no truer inscription was probably ever penned.



In care of Heaven.



The back of her headstone. These words were taken from an inscription I had written to her many years ago. I was truly honored when I learned they had chosen my words to grace her headstone.

Katy Rose was one of the most caring people I have ever had the privilege of knowing. She loved everyone and everything, creatures great and small, good and bad, ugly and beautiful, with a capacity and heart seen in so few people. A simple country woman, yet eloquent and common-sense smart. There was nothing she couldn't do. No one she wouldn't stop to help. Texan and proud of it, she always saw the good in people and made people want to be better just for her approval and company.

Goodbye, Granny Kay. I love you. I miss you.


Copyright 2011 Brian A. Hopkins, 2011-11-03 15:51, www.bahwolf.com