For those of you who were unable to make Earl's service:
A chill wind was blowing 30 mph from the north, and clouds hung low over Larned Cemetary Hill. Rob Kornacki, Cathy's husband, gave a short synopsis of Earl's life. A Red Cross friend of Earl's from Annapolis gave a longer, quite eloquent talk that revealed much of Earl's professional
career and relationships with folks on the East Coast. Three from there were in attendance. Beer play two tunes in the howling wind, after which Earl's nieces and nephews each released a yellow balloon.
All blew straight south, held low by the wind, and drew our attention to the bright yellowing of the trees along Pawnee Creek, about one-half mile below us. It seemed a fitting synergy to the moment.
We then retreated to to the Kuntry Club, where pictures of Earl were laid out on the pool table, and another table was filled with the many awards and plaques that Earl had received over the years, nationally significant in some cases. There was also a picture of him with George Wallace and his wife, when the governor made Earl an
honorary colonel in the Alabama militia. (The governor's wife, it seems, had been so impressed with Earl's work down there that she had George summon a patrol car to bring Earl to the governor's mansion --
when he was on his way out of the hotel to catch a plane back to DC. When the ceremony was over, the the gov called the airport and held Earl's plane on the tarmack until the trooper could get him to his flight.)
During lunch, Terry presided over a story-telling session, just memories of Earl, in which several folks participated. As things broke up about 2 p.m., I stepped outside to clear skies and warm sunshine. The weather seemed a fitting metaphor for the day: a somber beginning for us, but the promise of something brighter for Earl. I pray it is so.