Don Gum on his 92nd Birthday21 August, 1922 – 22 September, 2014

This picture was taken on my dad’s 92nd birthday.  It is, I think, his last picture.  A little over a month later, he was gone.  It’s been a year today since we lost him.  I should say finally lost him; he had been slipping away, ever so gradually, for the better part of a decade.  I have likened it to having to watch someone taking a bad fall in excruciatingly slow motion, while being powerless to stop it.  I had a long time to come to terms with the fact that I was losing him before I actually lost him.  A long time to watch the man I knew and loved fade into the sunset.  Those last couple of years were the hardest part.  When it was finally over and he was at peace, it was not so much a shock as a relief.

2015_09_20-01My mom had asked that in lieu of sending flowers to the funeral, people make a contribution to the music fund of the church my folks attended.  When they joined that church in 1955, they also joined the chancel choir and sang in it together for 51 years, until my dad had to stop because he could no longer see to read the music.  At one day shy of 91 years old, my mom’s on her 60th year and has no plans to stop.

A couple of months ago, my mom got together with their choir director and they picked out and ordered a music stand to replace the old black metal music stand the choir director used.  The new music stand was custom made, is quite substantial, and the Celtic cross* is inset (goes completely through the board), rather than inlaid.  My dad would have appreciated the woodworking skills that went into its construction.  Under the cross is the engraved brass memorial plaque, which is partially obscured by the reflection from the overhead lights. It was dedicated during the morning worship service this past Sunday.  That’s mom and the director in their choir robes.

After the service, my mom and I and long-time family friend CK went out to eat, and a delicious lunch was had by all.  I am grateful to report that when I returned home, no untoward plumbing events had transpired while I was gone.

*Their denomination is Presbyterian, which had its origins in Scotland, so their church’s use of the Celtic cross is legitimate.