We're about to get on the road and travel to Dothan, Alabama, to attend the funeral of D's cousin who died on Thursday
after a very difficult fight with cancer. He leaves behind a wife and three children, two girls and a boy who is his namesake. The oldest is 7, the middle is 5, the youngest is 1. There will be full military honors as he had 13 years of service in the U.S. Army. He was awarded the Order of St. Michael and Meritorious Service Medal. He was only 32 years old.
Herbie was a huge fan of the Philadelphia Eagles
, and several team members have visited him in the hospital over the past year during the course of his chemo. Several are expected to attend the funeral today as well. The team has set up trust funds for Herbie's children, as well as the gift of a blank check to Jessica, his wife. They gave it to her recently, telling her that once this was all over with she was to take the children to Disney World for as long as they wanted to stay, do whatever they wished to do, and fill in the amount of the check as she saw fit to do.
D and I drove to Atlanta yesterday morning to pick up his Grandmother from the airport, she flew in from Toledo. On the way up, we were listening to an oldies station and John Denver's "Rocky Mountain High" came on the radio. It made me think of the better part of my childhood for a brief moment. I grew up on that kind of music, so it took me back to a safer and happier time in my life. I focused on a memory that made me blissfully happy associated with music, and came up with my first time on an amusement park ride. It was the Himalaya, that insane roller coaster thing that screams around a humpy track partially hidden in a sort of tunnel with lights flashing everywhere and music blaring. I remember being very trepidacious at first but also remembering how much fun everyone on it seemed to be having - so I took the plunge. No sooner had I talked myself into it when Steve Miller Band's "Jungle Love" came on, followed by CCR's "Down On The Corner". There I was, 9 years old or so, on my first grown-up ride, singing at the top of my lungs, completely elated save for the force of gravity on me which I thought was annoying.
I'll be trying hard to think about that today when they play taps at the graveside service and do the 21 gun salute, that always shreds me to pieces no matter how many times I hear it. I hate funerals. I've been to far too many in my 35 years, a hell of a lot more than my share. While I only met him once over the summer last year, I'm very sad that he and his family have suffered as much as they have and will continue to do so in his absence.