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— I made a trip back to my old stomping grounds, but not for pleasure. I went back to bury a cousin and it was a painful trip. Death is not always painful to the survivors if death is a welcome relief to the sufferer and that person’s loved ones know the end will be welcomed. It seems to be the sudden, unexpected and untimely demise of a good friend or family member that squeezes a feller until tears well up and roll down.

My cousin, Bud, was a devout Christian. We can’t worry about his place in heaven; he is there. He was a terrific roper and could play poker until all hours of the night, winning or losing didn’t seem to matter. He just loved to play and the stakes were low, kitchen matches or pinto beans.His mantel and the barn office held many trophies for roping matches. He rode good horses and some not so good, but they could all catch a calf.

Bud was an even better family man. He raised four daughters and a son. His widow is one of the few who can say he never gave her reason to doubt his devotion or worry about the next land payment. He worked hard and played hard but he was always a decent and devoted man.

I guess I had to tell you all the above to get into my pain. I suffer because of his loss of life and my loss of him. He was miles away physically but as close as a phone call.We talked at least once a week and sometimesmore often. He was older and always wiser. The decisions I made were my close relative’s and mine for sure but I usually talked it over with Bud just for good measure.

I’ve got a hole in myheart today. I can’t begin to heal because the hole is too fresh and full of throbbing misery. Sure, I’ve lost good friends and kinfolk before, even my Pappy and Sainted Mother, but Bud is so very special that the pain is different. Just a little sharper and maybe that is because it is so fresh, I don’t know. I do know it hurts.

My daily chores are done in a fog and I can’t seem to feel the wind on my face like a week ago. The Grands haven’t been around much so that pleasure has not been mine like I’d wish. I probably wouldn’t be good company right now.

And all this brings to mind our individual mortality. Bud was tough, not even in his seventieth year and had so much left to do. His heart was big and never did give him one ounce of trouble, that is until it exploded. He wasn’t expecting to die that day, felt so good and yet it happened.

It is my opinion, and everyone has one, the surest thing we know is that we are gonna die. It will happen and there are two ways to go, up or down, or sorta that way in my head. I don’t know for a fact that one is up and the other down but it is a good way to explain it all. I figure we all had better make it plain which way we are going before our ticket is punched. The ones you leave behind are in enough misery without knowing you took the elevator down.

Think about it and stop being so dang manly that you just can’t or don’t think you need to make the decision. And help me get over my pain by telling me about your decision.

No, I ain’t gonna pass the plate!!

Opinion, Pages 6 on 11/11/2009

Print Headline: OPINION? Everybody Has One!!

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