Sunday, November 21, 2010

Goodbye, Cousin Dale

Today was a perfect late-autumn day for yard work. The temperature: 52° F. Breeze: none. Sun: full. Ah, yes, the perfect day for using my loppers to reshape the dormant redbud tree in our backyard, divide and replant several daylilies, and do some winter weeding.

As I used my Cape Cod weeder to uproot some young weeds, I came to a clump of grass that had somehow gained a foothold—maybe that should be rhizomehold—in a lily bed.

As I uprooted the grass, I thought of the words I heard yesterday at the funeral service of a cousin, Dale Abbott, of Rileyville, Virginia. Pastor Jeff Taylor of the Luray Seventh-day Adventist Church in his sermon had read parts of Psalm 90: “Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations…. Your turn men back to dust…. You sweep men away in the sleep of death; they are like the new grass of the morning—though in the morning it springs up new, by evening it is dry and withered…. The length of our days is seventy years—or eighty, if we have the strength….”

Several hundred relatives, including his four daughters, his brothers and sister, and friends celebrated his life with tears, stories, and a smile or chuckle at times.

It’s always sad to lose a friend, a loved one.

As I uprooted the invading grass from the flower bed, I faced reality. I too am like grass.

Dale was 71. I am 70.

“The length of our days is seventy years—or eighty, if we have the strength.”

Sometimes I have a lot to think about as I weed our gardens.

Goodbye, Cousin Dale. God be with you.

1 comment:

  1. Bob! Thoughtful, somber yet hopeful comments. We have 70 (or 80) years minus X (my age here) . . . or maybe much less . . . to weed and water our garden, watch it grow, feed on it, and give thanks for it. Then there's the "banquet table". Hey Dale, would you pass me that nifty piece of fruit from the Tree of Life? :) Gary - in - Paradise (CA)