Don't worry, you can trust me. I'm not like the others.

Banned In China

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Good Bye Larry

So, Larry's funeral was today.

He died on Easter Sunday, the viewing was on Tuesday, his youngest daughter's birthday was Wednesday so they decided to wait until today for the actual funeral. He will be cremated so there was no procession to the cemetery. After the lunch at his wife's church we came home and slept for two hours. We were exhausted.

I think that the reason we were so exhausted was the sheer amount of raw grief that was expressed by so many at the funeral. The intensity was frankly surprising. I did not realize how strongly I would feel, myself.

Larry was sixty-five and he had been sick for several years. However, he rally started to go down hill rapidly just about three months ago. There were the trips to Cleveland for more radiation and chemo and then the very rapid decline which started about three or four weeks ago.

Larry's was the only bicycle shop in town for several decades so anybody who rode seriously, or who had kids who had bikes that needed fixed knew Larry. Also, since Larry was the world's premier procrastinator they would get to see him much more than they had at first expected or for that matter wanted. As one of his friends said today she started to work for him about thirty-five years ago on the restoration of the bike shop and that restoration is still going on today. Three hour lunches were not unusual and if you drove by the shop and saw the sign that said back at 2 you knew that meant 3 and if he wasn't back by 4, that meant that you should come back the next day sometime after 10 when he might be there.

Larry looked like your traditional red neck, but once you started to talk to him you realized that he was a guy who was not easily pigeon holed. He loved blue grass and they played it at the funeral with his brother in law playing a lap dulcimer and another friend playing a banjo, with blue grass recordings playing in the back ground other times. The banjo player told us he wasn't sure he could make it through, but he did.

Larry was a Quaker, but his wife is a more main stream Christian and the service was a combination of the two with people being encouraged to share their memories of Larry. One of the first people was a woman he had hired to work on the restoration at his shop and on the bikes. She was sixteen at the time and had been told that girls were not permitted to take shop in school because. He gave her the keys to his shop and his pick up and tools that were not those one would think of as being, well safe and told her to go to it. One of the last people to share was another girl who has been working at his shop recently, she is African American and does not look at all traditionally feminine in any way, but rather androgynous. When she started working for Larry she had been about to drop out of high school, now in larger part because of Larry's encouragement she is in collage.

I was unable to speak. I have been going to his shop more or less frequently, as I said for almost twenty-five years. When he said he was thinking of closing down last year I told him he couldn't because I would have no where else to hang out. When we first got our St. Bernard we had Larry watch him and the St. loved to go and hang out at the bike shop: "What happens in the bike shop, stays in the bike shop."

I think that people were surprised that he died, he was one of those you just expected to be there. So there was that terrible shock, even though we should have all known what was coming.

I don't know where I'll hang out this summer.

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