Another Last Call

A friend with whom I worked for many years on a town board was laid to rest yesterday with the last call for a Fire Chief.

Like the last radio call at a police officer’s funeral, an announcement directed that he was “not to respond to the station again.”

He did not respond only to calls of duty.  When Jim was sick, he managed to make him smile by snapping a picture of an enormous moose across the street from our house, heading towards our driveway.  He was not afraid to check in on me, and during Jim’s last holiday season he made sure to tell me that it did not seem right to wish us happy holidays, but that he was thinking of us and hoping we could all be together.

This service called to mind my husband’s closing ceremonies in many ways–not least given the identical hymns, including the Naval Hymn, and responsive scriptural readings.  In both services there was laughter in the remembrances, and light intensified and shined through stained glass in a New England church as the ceremony came to a close.

My husband and he shared many characteristics: both were (very tall) gentle men of integrity dedicated to family and service.   They loved being outdoors, and were skilled at making living things thrive.

At this service the congregation sang, “I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses. . . ”

At Jim’s service one of our sons read Amy Gerstler’s poem, In Perpetual Spring:  

Gardens are also good places
to sulk. You pass beds of
spiky voodoo lilies
and trip over the roots
of a sweet gum tree,
in search of medieval
plants whose leaves,
when they drop off
turn into birds
if they fall on land,
and colored carp if they
plop into water.

Children sat through both ceremonies, including this gentle man’s beloved young grandchildren–the ones everyone knew, through their grandfather, outshone even the denizens of Lake Wobegone by being more handsome, more beautiful, and far smarter and more talented than any average group of children.

I thought about what it might be like from their perspectives, dressed up and held by grieving parents,  surrounded by hundreds of somber, towering people they had never before seen.  I wanted them to know that they were their grandfather’s world, but that other people in his other families–the Navy, the fire department, the communities in which he worked and lived–would remember him too.

(c) 2012 Stephanie M. Glennon

Author: Stephanie

In her spare time, Stephanie works full-time, and then some, as an attorney. She has published articles and delivered talks in arcane fields like forensic evidentiary issues, jury instructions, and expert scientific witness preparation. She attended law school near the the banks of the Charles River and loves that dirty water; she will always think of Boston as her home. You are welcome to take a look at her Facebook author page, or follow @SMartinGlennon on Twitter and @schnitzelpond on Instagram. Bonus points for anyone who understands the Instagram handle. All content on this blog, unless otherwise attributed, is (c) 2012-2023 by Stephanie M. Glennon and should not be reproduced (in any form other than re-blogging in accordance with the wee Wordpress buttons at the bottom of each post) without the express permission of the domain holder.

3 thoughts on “Another Last Call”

  1. Stephanie….you are an amazing writer….so inspiring. Bob was number one in my book as well. I will miss him.

  2. It was hard to imagine how you must’ve felt sitting through your first
    remembrance service since Jim’s. Hopefully it’s the constants and traditions in life that offer you solace. Wonderful to remember the attributes and individual quirks that made these men so special. Beverly

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