I attended a funeral today for a neighborhood icon, Ora Baum Farley. Ora was a spitfire lady. She had plastic swans in her beautiful flower garden and occasionally was known to use spicy language. (I call it ‘spicy language’ because as a kid, my mom used to put Tabasco sauce my tongue if I said a bad word…making those words pretty spicy. The thing is, I really like Tabasco sauce now, by the spoonful.)
It seems like everybody around here has a story about Ora. It got me to thinking about how glad I am have roots in this place. I have always thought that one of the best things about my religion is that it facilitates the relationships with people around me that I might otherwise never know. I have grown over the years to truly love the people on my street and on my block. I also thought that it was interesting thinking about how much we all love our families, but it’s the people that we share our lives with, sometimes our neighbors, who might really the closest to us.
I was touched by the stories of how much Ora loved her husband, Stan. During an excerpt read from Ora’s journal about saying goodbye to young Stan at the Provo Train Depot, as he went off to war, thinking she would never see him again, I cried. I could hear the trains and feel her there with her aching heart. We all have stories. It’s good to share those stories.
I was lucky that as part of my job at church, I’m in charge of funeral luncheons for the families. The family was over 100 people so the task could have been daunting, but because she was so loved, more people brought food than I had asked for. In the kitchen, the ladies helping shared more Ora stories that made everybody happy. I even embellished the décor with Ora’s favorite colors, red and purple.
Usually during funerals I plan my own. I plan what I want to be buried in, the music and who should be there. I didn’t do that today. Instead, I thought about the what I would like people to be able to say about me. I didn’t even draw during the program. Whaaaat? Maybe I’m coming down with something.
“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
Her Heart on Her Sleeve, 1999
(The above photo was taken in a graveyard in Kirkland, Ohio)