VALOIS, New York - With all the hubbub of getting the house ready for tomorrow's memorial service for my late mother-in-law, we had one really bright spot.
The stone that is in the photo with today's blog was taken from the garden by Louise's nephew Brett Beardslee, a musician of some note, who also seems to be capable to doing damn near anything else.
In this case, he took a stone from Louise's garden, a stone she hauled in herself years ago, and took it to a stone carver to put her name in it.
I carefully set the stone yesterday in exactly the spot it was taken from, and tomorrow it will be a centerpiece of whatever happens, complete with some flowers and maybe memorabilia.
Memorial services like this are tricky. It's definitely not religious, though we will have one legitimate clergyman speaking. It's no Irish wake, thought I bought enough wine and beer yesterday to make a credible run at it. No, it's more like a remembrance and a chance for several hundred people (Jaysus! That many people?)to hear a few kinds words about the late Louise Beardslee Schwartz, tell a few stories at her expense, laugh, cry and visit.
This memorial/service/party/wake is just the kind of thing Louise loved to go to, to catch up on people and what was happening.
Depending on your ecclesiatical outlook, she will either miss tomorrow's soiree, be in the waiting line for reincarnation as a daffodil or some more exotic plan - or be there in spirit.
I'm betting on the last version, which is why I'll sweep the walk one more time and arrange the flowers again to get them just perfect before I step up as emcee.
She would have wanted it that way.