Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Gathering of Special Memories

My brother wrote that he figured John Hudon might be one of the five people he could meet in Heaven.  That statement brought tears to Vic Hudon's eyes when he read it on the John's Coffelt Funeral Home guestbook a few days ago. 

Both Vic and Mike would be considered tough guys.  After all, they both played football for Cotton Barlow.  Vic was a year or two ahead of Mike, and he was a Bulldog standout.    In fact, I can remember being impressed that we had a celebrity of sorts riding our North Boyer school bus whenever I'd see Vic sitting in one of the seats.  

After their rural childhood along North Boyer Road, Vic and Mike went their separate ways.  Vic became a teacher, and Mike spent time in the Army after West Point and then several years in the paper industry.  One of those gigs was spent at Potlatch in Lewiston.  During that time, Vic became the father of one of his sons named Joe.

I met Joe yesterday at John Hudon's funeral.  Naturally the headline grabber for each of us in that meeting was that Joe's a journalist.  He's now working in Buffalo, Wyo., as a publisher of the local weekly.  I also learned from Vic that Joe is my brother Mike's godson. 

Mike reiterated that fact about Joe in a telephone conversation after I returned home from the funeral, along with his assertion about John's current residence in Heaven.

My head was swirling with faces from the funeral who reminded me of numerous pieces of tapestry that have made up my life's journey.  I'm guessing this morning that going to funerals of people you've known forever does that.  

It's especially nice when they're folks who have been tapped by us remaining mortals as residents of Heaven.

I think Mike may be right about John Hudon.  When all was said and done, it was evident that John lived an exemplary life, even if he himself was not a headline grabber.  Hard worker, behind-the-scenes supporter of underdogs, man of consistent faith, storyteller, family man, quiet humanitarian.

I remember years ago when he showed me some clippings of stories about and by his grandson Joe.  He was so proud.  That's how John was---always proud---about his family.  And, they were there to honor him yesterday. 

I saw Donny for the first time in years.  He's worked on ranches every since leaving Sandpoint, and he and his wife Deanna live in Southeastern Montana.  I can remember when Donny worked for Howard and Mary Ellen Thomason; they started the Selkirk Ranch here in the area. I met two of Donny's three children.  

Also, met most of Vic's family and reconnected with Gen's daughter Polly and son Mark.  Gen was one of the older members of the Mountain View ABC's 4-H Club when I joined, mainly cuz I liked the idea of refreshments.  Her mom Lucille led the club that first year, along with Winifred Nikkola.

During the actual funeral Mass yesterday, I sat in the pew at the St. Joseph's church next to Mary Gooby Madsen.  There was a time when diminutive Mary was actually taller than I.  When I was really young and new at riding the school bus, Mary looked out for me.  

Years later, when I had grown, I was surprised to see Mary much shorter than I.  The years tend to modify our sense of size in many ways.

Mary's brother Pat came to their uncle's funeral as did brothers Bob and Dick.

The matriarch of Goobyville was John Hudon's twin sister Dorothy.  Gooby stories intertwine with Brown and Tibbs family happenings over more than 60 years.  We moved to a farm not far from Goobyville and south of Hudons in 1950. 

Later, my folks bought part of the original Hudon farm at the urging of Basil Gooby and even later, Bill and I bought another piece of it with Goobys across the road from us. Bob Gooby helped out my dad with his farming one year when Harold was very ill.  Goobys are like family because of all those associations.

Seems like those family funerals always provide an opportunity for a visit with Dick Gooby who lives on a big ranch over in Montana.  Yesterday was no exception, and yesterday was when I realized that Dick's wife Mary Ann is a Watt.  Her brother established Encoder Products here in the area.

And, it turns out I've taught her nieces and nephew. One niece is married to Cotton Barlow's grandson.  I also learned that Mary Watt Gooby has an author/school teacher for a daughter.   Jeannie Watt writes Western romance novels, so, of course, I'll suggest that readers check out her books. 

John's funeral at  St. Joseph's brought me to the new church  for the second time ever.  I attended Mass there one other time when Fr. O'Donovan became Monsignor O'Donovan, taking photos and notes for an Idaho Register story.   I enjoyed attending again yesterday, especially when I saw Mgr. O'Donovan seated on the altar.  

He's been very ill for quite some time, and as an 88-year-old,  it was a challenge for this frail man of God to be part of the Mass,  but the presiding priest Fr. Lilly said the monsignor wanted to be there for John.  A tribute in itself.  

Some of the other faces there----Patty McGovern and her dad Eddie Parkins, Vern and Jan Stolz, Mrs. Judge----took me back to my Catholic roots. 

Seems those folks have always been there, and when I think of Eddie Parkins, I think of the days when Mother had to hire numerous babysitters to watch over us Brown siblings while she worked for Eddie at Sandpoint Cleaners where Truby's Health Mart is now.   

The babysitters never lasted long cuz our antics quickly drove them away.   So, Mother kept hiring.  That job was important to her at that time back in the early 1950s. 

Gen told me before the funeral that John had decided he wanted to die,  even if he missed his 94th birthday, which occurred the day after his death.   After learning that, I'm figuring John wanted to be up there in Heaven for this celebration.  

I'm also guessing he appreciated yesterday's gathering and the poignant, meaningful impressions his simple, good life left with all of us here on Earth. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...