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July 5th, 2003

Grade Z

beside still pastures

This morning my brother stopped by quite early to pick up packages that arrived at his family home during their vacation at his wife's parents on a South Carolina beach. He reported that they drove 20 hours straight to return to Texas, driving 2 hours, then taking a break, and so forth.

We went to the noon memorial service for my friend, which was held in a chapel at Dallas' old cemetery, Restland Memorial. They chose the 23rd Psalm, "Shall We Gather by the River" and "In the Sweet Bye and Bye" (songs sung a capella), all fine traditional choices, but I wondered if they would be my friend's choices. He was 47. The fellow conducting the service mentioned that he shared my friend's love for Fender Stratocasters and Telecasters. The turn-out was good, but few of us were former co-workers--most attendees seemed to be of his parents' generation. My guess is that many were out of town with the holiday.

I spent the latter part of the afternoon finishing up some court papers to federal express to California. Then my wife and I went for a long walk in Twin Creeks, a hike and bike trail near our home.
We saw herons by the pond. I saw a king snake with a black body and yellow stripes. We saw swans swimming by a fountain, and mallards with little ducklings in a drainage ditch. At one point, mockingbirds and a scissortail flycatcher harassed a menacing crow.
As crows do, he fled, but in a lumbering, confident flight.

In the pasture at the Boyle Farm, just behind our neighborhood, three horses grazed. Two finches sat on the fencepost. A small airplane flew overhead. The distant sky purpled with potential thunderstorm. The crape myrtle trees everywhere in the neighborhod were in bloom, reds and pinks and whites. Everything seemed quiet, and still, and at rest.