January 27, 2009
Travelled to Kingman on Sunday for the funeral of Charlie's mother, Martha Waters. Kathy and I stopped in Wickenburg for gas and probably spent ten to fifteen minutes at the Mobil Travel Stop outside of town on Highway 93. Took off once again and cruised through the Joshua Forrest and across the Santa Maria. Just past Kaiser Springs we saw an ambulance pull out of the Bagdad turnoff and speed north ahead of us. Just beyond Nothing, Arizona all the traffic came to a dead standstill. We heard more sirens, then a helicopter. Then another, until three medical copters all converged on the road up ahead and landed. People got out and walked toward the site. Rumors came back of 9 dead. Someone was passing another car (this dangerous, old road has been vastly improved in certain sections: we were on a split, four-lane highway) and had a blow-out, careened into the car it was passing and both rolled. Kathy walked up to the front of the line and counted back. We were the 15th car back from the wreck. If we hadn't stopped for gas, who knows?
We learned later that three had died and quite a few were in the hospital.
"Death is never at a loss for an occassion."
—Old Vaquero Saying
We had about a forty-five minute wait, so I took the time to sketch the terrain and the fantastic clouds. Really an amazing couple of days for clouds:
In Kingman we landed at Julie Waters' home on Hilltop where all the Waters were assembled to break bread and share memories of Martha, who died last week at age 87.
The funeral for Martha was held on Monday at 11 A.M. at Saint John's Methodist Church. I was honored by being one of the pall bearers and I also spoke, remembering how wonderful Martha was to me when I was growing up (she taught me how to eat with a fork!). Martha's son John gave the eulogy and did a wonderful job, telling us of her storied history. We attended the graveside services and a luncheon at the Elks Club. Martha had stipulated she wanted good food and lots of laughs and she got her wish. I've never laughed or cried more at a funeral. Martha led an inspiring life and both Kathy and I felt truly inspired by her example. Saw, Bob Burford, Coach Byram and the 1963 Homecoming Queen, Judy Ely, who lives in Tucson. Our Class Governor, Mickey Campa was there and he confided to me he has attended 18 funerals in the past year, then sheepishly admitted there were actually 22 funerals, but he missed four because he was hauling hay. That's so Mickey.
On the way home yesterday I saw even more grandiose clouds than on the trip up. Debated on stopping to take reference photos, but decided to try and take mental snapshots and try and capture them when I got home.
Here are a couple attempts:
This morning I had a doctor's appointment to check on my heart. The doctor was an hour and a half backed up, so I got to do some serious sketching of my cloud memories:
Did 10 sketches while I waited. Unlike several other grumpy patients, I actually enjoyed the wait.
"Everyone has a mother, but nobody had mine."
—John Waters, in his eulogy for Martha Waters