by Brian A.
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
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
The Cordell (her maiden name) family plot.
"Mother to Many" ... including yours truly ... no truer inscription was
probably ever penned.
In care of
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
Goodbye, Granny Kay. I love you. I miss you.