Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Strong Until Taps

When accompanying Turtle to the funeral service of her beloved grandfather, I was reminded of the time she and my mother and I went to see Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ. There was a key part in the film that brought Turtle to extreme tears. It was important to her, as the filmmaker had intended. And I knew she needed my strength at that moment. I think it helped that I recognized what it meant to her, even if it did not move me the same way. Yesterday was much like that.

I admit, it's hard to keep my own composure when strong emotions are around me (and sometimes, not so strong emotions too). I knew it would be a challenge to do so, and it was. I spent much of the time blocking the flood of sadness, especially when Turtle's aunt spoke through intense tears about the love she had for her father-in-law. Turtle had prepared me, and I knew it was coming, that she would be ok until she heard Taps. That would be a test for me too.

Her grandfather served in the Korean War. Both of my grandfathers were in the service; my father's father served in World War II, his father was in World War I. Taps is a special piece of music, and I knew I'd have a hard time at that part as well.

I think part of it is the power of music to break through barriers. The twenty-four notes of Taps has a culture behind it; it's a symbol that brings with it a certain meaning to those who have been taught what it means. A few tears escaped my eyes when the bugle sounded, with my best friend sobbing into my shoulder. It wouldn't have been right to deny what I felt at that moment, even though earlier I shut it all out. I think my friend needed me to be strong for her and to support her, but I think she needed me to feel too.

I don't regret going with her for one bit.

After that, we ran by my place to check on the cats, then she drove me to her place just outside of Richmond. It's pretty nice: a townhome with two bedrooms and 1.5 bathrooms and a quaint little garden. I'm a little concerned with how she keeps her home (or doesn't, as the case may be) and need to talk to her about that soon. We had fresh hot Krispy Kreme doughnuts for breakfast, had to do a quick run at her work where we also had lunch, then spent the rest of the afternoon at the Virginia Science Museum. That place was great, with lots of hands-on things to play with. The 2-litre soda bottle rocket was a particular favorite. We're going to visit the new(ish) Air and Space Museum that's out my way when she visits me in December.

It turned out to be a fabulous, albeit not restful, weekend after all.

Oh, and the regular mechanic replaced the oxygen sensors and said the things the other place wanted to do were crazy when they knew what the problem was. The owner, who always jokes with me, was grinning as he said one of his other customers asked him why there was a car with Virginia plates in his lot (when I could just as easily take my car to some place more local). He said he had to tell her it was because I knew he wouldn't try to rip me off. He also said to check with him if other things go wrong, because he might know an honest place where I can take it to avoid going through this again. Or, just continue to get the major work done with him, because I know he wouldn't try to rip me off. They even helped me with the cost a bit. Wasn't that great?

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