Daddy Slims funeral...1954
I glanced down at the blue dress. I had wanted the white organdy one,
but Mom said it wasn’t appropriate. My new shoes stood on the green grass beneath me. They were white patent leather. Raising my head, my eyes met the brown casket covered with flowers. I looked away to sad faces encircling the gravesite. The minister was reading from a small black book, “From dust you were taken and unto dust shall thou return...”
My mud pottery came to my mind. I could see it being formed from the earth. It sat with substance for a while and then crumbled and returned to the earth from where it had come.
Mom’s hand squeezed mine. She stood between Bronco and I with her head bowed.
“Since we are assured of a resurrection through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and...”
I thought of Dad in heaven. I remembered Ringo our dog. He had been run over in front of our house in Philipsburg. After we buried him, I sat on the back porch of the red brick house. My heart felt like two hands were tearing it apart, but I couldn’t cry and release the grip of pain. I stared up at the blue sky. Clouds were passing overhead toward the west. One cloud arrested my attention. I watched with fascination as it moved straight upward.
“Mom...Mom come quickly!” I yelled.
Mom hurried to the porch, thinking that something was wrong.
“Mom, look at that cloud!” I exclaimed as I pointed to the one odd form.
She was as captivated as I was. We watched the visible mass of vapor continue its journey until it disappeared.
“That is really unusual,” Mom mused aloud, “What would make a cloud move upward instead of in motion with the other clouds?”
“It was Ringo, Mom,” I said with child like faith, “God took Ringo to heaven, and He let me see the cloud so I would know He’s taking care of him for me.”
The droning sound of the minister’s voice ceased and in its place was muffled sobs. I felt arms hugging me. Mom was crying as friends and relatives consoled her.
Uncle Don and Grandma Underwood helped her back to the black limousine. Bronco and I followed behind.
The back seat of the car had plush velvet upholstery. Mom placed her arms around Bronco and I. She began to cry.
“You’re all I have left,” she sobbed. Instinctively, I stiffened. I didn’t want to be “all” that she had left.