I asked you recently if you were ever angry at me for having moved back to California, and Larry having moved with me, and so far away from you and Kansas City. And, you said, “sure” there was a time when you were mad about it, but that you believed it was meant to be and that you were happy for Larry and me and what we have.
I will miss you. I will miss your powerful voice on any Sunday, or any given evening. I am glad for the visits that we had over the years. I am glad you came to California the times you did for our wedding, for our renewal ceremony six years ago, and I am glad for the times we spent with you and family, including the Jarrett family in the eighties there in Kansas City.
It’s good to remember that I met you through my Uncle Cornell, who was one of your custom car protégés, when I was nine or ten, at your shop on 40 Hwy, and then again at sixteen, and then again at eighteen when my uncle introduced Larry and me at the 1974, Kansas City, motorcycle show. I traveled with the motorcycle shows that year, working with Corny in his reptile exhibit, falling in love with Larry, and being a part of your world. I am glad for all of the memories of those early-day travels and, for the memories I’ve shared with you and family over all of these years, my immediate family here in California, and with everyone in Missouri and Kansas.
There are family, friends and colleagues: people who you worked with, encouraged, mentored or sponsored, who would like to see you remembered fully with a memorial worthy of your considerable contributions to our lives, and the contributions that you made to the world of custom automobiles and motorcycles. I’m praying that we will each be moved to acknowledge you in a way that honors you and your work.
For a long time you have inspired me to tell stories, you have encouraged me in my work as a storyteller and writer, and you have inspired me when you shared some of your stories with me. I hope I let you know what an honor that was, and still is, including, and especially, when it came to those memories of your early life growing up in Deepwater, and about being in the 82nd Airborne in WWII, about creating the Boothill Express, and of your life with Betty, Larry, Barb, and Pam.
You were cared for by many, and in the form of your daughters you had angels especially in these last months. In your son, you have a peer artist who you saw work hard to maintain and sustain his artistry and creative expression, and find some faith and peace of mind in this mixed up, but beautiful world. And you saw in the artistry of your daughters how they’ve worked to maintain and sustain raising children and having families and becoming creative women in the last part of the Twentieth Century. Their children, your grandchildren: Shannon, Layton, Jamie, and Lauren are wondrous facts of your legacy, and all of them are wonderful young people, and you can see strength in each one of them that they surely inherited from you. That they, and Barb and Pam and Larry, and we all loved you like the earth loves the sun is clear.
You will live on in the sun, your reflection, and your memory. Those February days when the sun was shining and the turnouts were slow at the car and motorcycle shows, there were those of us who knew that the sun was shining inside the auditorium, and that is where we spent some of our most memorable and fondest days. I am proud to be your daughter-in-law, and glad for sharing in this life with you, dear Ray-Dad. God bless your Life and your passing.
With all my love~