SACRAMENTO, Calif. - When Daniel D. Allen died last week, (a shirt-tail relative of mine by marriage), his family immediately scrambled to find some of the proper attire for his funeral - in this case hippie outfits as befitting who he was, and how he had enjoyed a relatively short life. He was a surfer, too, and I suppose to really honor him, we should have strapped some boards on the tops of our cars during the funeral procession.
Uncle Danny (as he was called by my son-in-law Steve, my daughter Anne and granddaughter Samantha) died at 51 years old, after years of encroaching paralysis and the inability to communicate easily, the victim of a brain tumor discovered when he was just 18.
To see the family decked out in tie-dye was touching, even more so because the service included full military honors: a bugler playing taps and the carefully folded flag being presented to his mother who has taken care of Danny all these years.
Relatives came from all over the state for the service and some higher power was keeping an eye on things because temperatures at the graveside funeral barely topped 90 degrees after weeks of triple digits that would have fried everyone. As it was, it was cool under the trees at the Folsom cemetery, not far from the shores of Folsom Lake itself.
That's two memorial/funerals in two months in which I was more than just a casual bystander. I had real ties to real people. Danny I had seen one month before, at a Father's Day party at his brother Dave's house.
And months before that, I attended a campus service for a teaching colleague who died young last year.
If whoever controls such things is listening or reading (What, you think God doesn't read? What does She do? Watch Maury Povich for the news?) then please, a personal favor. No more memorial services for awhile. I don't ask for a complete holiday here, but I have enough trouble with dehydration without trying to calculate for water loss through tears.
R.I.P. Danny Allen. And I hope where you are, Surf's up, dude!