|The morning was sunny and bright, but|
by the time we all got to the cemetery the
clouds had rolled in and it was cold.
We who were there yesterday didn't learn anything about our friend that we didn't already know. He was kind and generous, knowledgeable and loyal. Saying good-bye to a man like that is hard, my friends. Real hard. There are so few of them.
His parents – and oh, how sad I was for them – raised him right, simple as that. "Right" to them meant helping and giving and learning and working hard and he did all those things, every day, until he got too sick to do them any more.
My grandchildren knew Billy from their summer visits. My granddaughter came by herself a few years ago and practically before she got out of the car, Billy was there to take her on her first tractor ride. She baked him a batch of lemon bars to thank him. Her brother came with her the following summer and sure enough – he got his first tractor ride the first day of their visit. He also cut a path through the field where our pond is, unasked, so they could walk in to go fishing.
We could never repay him for his many kindnesses, or for rescuing us in true disasters. He brought a huge tank of water for us during the derecho, and cleared snow from the driveway countless times. Our gifts of home baked bread or brownies seemed like a paltry thank-you, but he would never take money and we wanted so much to reciprocate.
Had either of us known about the disease that eventually took Billy's life, we might have been able to share our stories. But we didn't know, not until he was on life support in a hospital two states away. Too late. Leaving both my husband and me helpless. And too sad.