He died last week, but the funeral wasn't until today in order to accommodate traveling by so many out-of-state relatives. Many were able to return, too; there were enough of us family members attending that we took up about a third of the pews in the church in McGregor. We gathered in the fellowship hall beforehand and shared condolences and did a little catching up after years of not having seen some relatives (e.g., "Ah, these must be your kids" or "Is this your husband?" or "And where do you live now?").
The funeral service itself featured three particularly touching elements.
- Three of Curtis' grandchildren who couldn't return for the funeral instead wrote letters to be read aloud by the pastoral assistant. They were all beautifully written and described meaningful memories of Grandpa Curtis.
- Two of Curtis' grandchildren joined their mom (Curtis' daughter-in-law) to perform special music. Kristian and Janna played "Ashokan Farewell" on the violin, accompanied by Mary Ellen on the piano. The siblings are great string players, and their mom is a skilled pianist, and the overall effect was both lovely to listen to and emotional.
- As an Army veteran (who witnessed the Nuremberg Trials--I had never known that!), Curtis was recognized with military funeral honors. His casket was draped in the flag of our country, which two uniformed members of a local honor guard ceremonially folded and presented to Curtis' son Wilmer. Before that, other members fired the traditional three-volley salute outside the church, followed by the playing of "Taps." Very respectful and moving.
After the funeral, the ladies of the church served a mid-afternoon lunch* in the fellowship hall, where we gathered to visit with relatives and others who live in the area, many of whom it had been years since we'd last seen. The chats were good but brief, and somehow all our relatives managed to rush out of the church before we realized that they were gone (yes, as is typical, our Moberg family was the last to leave) . . . so we got no photos of these aunts and uncles and cousins whom we so rarely see and whom we were so hoping to have pose for quick snapshots. I don't know what their hurry was, but it was sad to look around and see them all gone with no plans for the extended family to gather afterward over supper to visit some more and share memories of Curtis.
So our family drove back to Dad and Beverly's and visited amongst ourselves and had a nice supper of ham, scalloped potatoes, baked sweet potatoes, and cake for dessert. Before supper, Susan set the timer on our camera and got some good photos of our group. And after supper, it was time for us to pack up, say farewell, and head home (the girls have a piano recital in the morning). It was a brief visit, but we're grateful to live close enough to my family that we can make the drive there and back in a day if necessary. Curtis was a good man; may he rest in peace.