So….  This is going to be a long post, so you can ignore it if you like. First the good news…
Jenn, Debbie’s gorgeous, dog rescuing genius of an only daughter, has graduated from Brown University Magna Cum Laude.  I am absolutely thrilled for Jenn and Debbie, and Spence and Jim, the long suffering former and current partners who provided the material and emotional support to make the day happen.  Many things about Debbie impress the hell out of me, and it’s a great day to say so.  Congratulations to all of you!

Anyway, about this memorial service.

Daughter Katie… man, it’s a hard life when your minister, daughter and girlfriend all share the same name, necessitating verbal gymnastics…. anyway, she has forgiven me for waking her up at 6 am to do Carrie’s hair on Friday.  It wasn’t going to happen – the usual assortment of family commitments and miscellaneous communication foulups – so I called Planet Hair on Hastings (hard by Boundary) and the owner Wendy answered the phone and said in an instantly likable and trustworthy way “We will take care of you.”  And they did.  Carrie looked stunning.

We got home, tossed the biscotti and cheese and crackers in a bag, tossed the just finished orders of service in another bag, and cut out for the Unitarian Church of Vancouver.  We got there in time for the service to start and sat on the family side of the church – as is appropriate as I was John’s sister in common law and Carrie did actually legally marry him – but not in the family pews, which would have been a frikkin’ disaster, not to mention presumptuous in the extreme on both our parts.

The service went off entirely without a hitch or cross word spoken and I would like to publicly and most gratefully call out Rev Katie Stein Sather for dealing with the emotionalism and excess of the last 48 hours with compassionate aplomb.

At least a dozen people came up to Carrie after the service and thanked her for, among other things, her courage, candour and sincerity in speaking her truth about John.  It is unfortunate that Phyllis, Lois and Ruth were so offended by what she had to say – it’s posted on the memorial site – but in the end they held their peace and Carrie received a level of emotional support and courtesy which made her compulsion to attend the service entirely reasonable in retrospect.  A couple of divorced women thanked her for speaking respectfully of her ex.

John Robertson spoke about his time as John’s employer at John’s Jukes; Tom made me cry as soon as he said, “John came for dinner one night and never left our family” because I’ve shared – as I have blogged dozens of times – meals with John and the Lundervilles, and I knew with a poignancy which wrung my heart exACtly what he meant.  Keith spoke ex tempore with moving eloquence about his first night at the dojo, courtesy of John, and I wish I’d recorded it, because it was brilliant, and heartfelt, and respectfully terse.  His great grandfather Bob Hinde would have been proud of him; he blended the best of many generations of good men in his words and deeds yesterday, and I feel blessed and blessed again.

I would like to publicly thank David Hamilton for his piano accompaniment.  A thousand thanks.

Then food and talk in the smoking hot hall across the quad; I would like to publicly thank Renée and Joy for their hero service in the kitchen and their loving support to the family.

Then we left around 6:30 to pick up a picnic lunch and leave the immediate family to have first crack at the housefilk, with the warning that we would be there around 9 so they could clear out if they wanted to, what with them not being too happy about Carrie’s presence.  We heard but did not see a drunken assault at the top of the stairs and watched the guy with the bloody face bundled into the ambulance.

Then, the housefilk.  Forty lusty voices singing Tapioca…. in multiple harmonies.  Paul and I singing Willie’s Diamond Joe.  Carly (who KNEW her voice was so amazing???) singing Jimmy Buffett and NOT Margaritaville.  Cindy’s soaring soprano.  Peggy’s bass loping along in the background.  Me prodding Paul into singing Carmelita.  Me singing what I remember of Horizontal.  Everybody else singing Leslie Fish, Echo’s Children, and other greats of the filk world.  Brooke singing Unhappy Campers, which is currently my fave song of hers, both for the melody and the sentiments it expresses.

Midnight came and we left.

I’m going to post this and head back to Wreck Beach with Carrie.  Keith is coming along for the sun.

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Born when atmospheric carbon was 316 PPM. Settled on MST country since 1997. Parent, grandparent.

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