What do you day on a hot, sunny day in August? Well, we have a reunion at the lake on one of the hottest days of the year.
My mother-in-law's maiden name is Lennaman. Her and her siblings have all passed away but we still have Aunt Carol, Uncle Leroy's wife. Aunt Carol is such a nice lady and always pleasant to be around.
Dwayne and the boys barbecued pork steaks and everyone brought in covered dishes. Despite the heat, everyone had a good time.
Dwayne's cousin, Mark and his son's Blaine and Jordan spent the night with us. Also, Wayne's son, Brandon came down. He hadn't been out here since he was a young child. All of Aunt Rita's kids live in Illinois. Dwayne and Mark are very close and we have visited back and forth since I married Dwayne. A lot of good memories.
The guys watched TV downstairs and I enjoyed a good book. The perfect evening. lol
We sat around the front porch visiting and then Mark and the boys went to the Gasconade River with David, Chad and Todd. Brandon had such a good time he can't wait to come back.
I went to church and then home to a much needed nap. Dwayne and I spent the evening relaxing and watching TV.
I am grateful we can continue this tradition of the annual Lennaman Reunion on. (Although, I did forget to plan it last year. Whoops!0
We woke up to a beautiful day. There wasn't any clouds in the sky. April called to say God had a blank canvas for Wayne. That was to change that evening.
Wayne's funeral was attended by many. There was standing room only. It was a time for celebration of Wayne's life and the speaker, Ron Smith did a wonderful eulogy for Wayne. He even made us laugh a couple times. Wayne was an artist and led an eccentric life style all his own. We celebrated the independence Wayne shown and how he became a well known artist in the art community. Several business around town had his paintings hung up.
Having to leave was hard and the pallbearers seemed to be having a hard time emotionally but remained stoic.
The Patriot Guard was there to lead us to the cemetery. Such an honor and quite the tribute to Wayne. We solemnly followed the hearse out of town to Mom and Dad's house. There, they transferred Wayne's body in a flag draped coffin onto a wooden wagon led by a team of mules. Our friend, Pat Ragan drove the team. The mourners went on to the cemetery and solemnly stood with the Patriot Guard as the procession arrived. It was very moving, especially with the pallbearers following in two straight lines behind the wagon. Behind them was my nephew, Wayne, Jr. riding a horse and leading Wayne's horse with his boots hanging backwards from the stirrups. His daughter, Tess also rode a horse. There was hardly a dry eye. The scene was very much a tribute to Wayne and he would have loved it.
We had so much help from family, friends and neighbors. Our neighbor, Shawn Breeding had dug the grave at no charge. Others stayed around to fill in and clean up.
The sermon at the cemetery was very sad and our last closing of Wayne's life. It was so moving to hear the gun salute and then each Patriot Guard coming up and saluting Wayne's coffin. Much thanks go out to them.
We then went to Mom and Dad's for dinner. My good friends, Susan, Peggy, Patti and Reenie had set up the tables and all the food and drinks. (and cleaned up everything). So grateful to them. My church supplied most of the funeral meal.
Mom in the hospital before she got really bad sick.
The afternoon of the funeral dinner as we were eating, we got a call to get to the hospital as fast as we could. Our Mom lay at death's door. It was a very hard time on all of us. Mom didn't want to be put on life support but after my sister, Kate explained to her that it would take over the breathing for her and to ...just let her body rest, she said okay. I had just went downstairs for a few minutes and a lady in the elevator said I looked like I needed a prayer. (I wasn't crying or anything) She stopped the elevator and said a prayer for me. She then said she needed to go and pray with my Mom as she had a heavy heart telling her to do this. She went to the room and said the most heartfelt prayer I've ever heard. She prayed for Mom to be at peace and for God to ease her breathing. She said other things that were very meaningful for each one of us. Then they came to take Mom back to ICU. I want you to know that by the time they got Mom settled and ready for us to go see her, she was breathing on her own; they did not have to put her on the ventilator. Mom even looked like herself as she looked at death's door in the other room. Praise God! I have heard of these powerful message from God but had never witnessed it before. It was very meaningful. I thank each one of you for your thoughts and prayers. They are much appreciated. (Mom is doing much better but still has a long road ahead of her) Mom has been in the hospital since then with another bout of pneumonia. I would appreciate prayers for her and my Dad who is taking excellent care of her. Dwayne and I went back to the hospital that evening. There were several of the family there. I like to stay with Mom until she falls asleep for the night. As I was sitting there, my great-niece, Kara came in. She is such a beautiful young lady, inside and out. April babysat her and her sister, Tess a lot when they were younger. They hold such a dear place in our hearts. It was such a pleasure to visit with Kara and get to know what all is going on in her life. She has a two year old little boy, Parker and is expecting a little girl in October. I'm very proud of Kara Leigh. Momma seemed to be resting better and we called it a night. What a long and exhausting day we had. My friend, Brenda Tyree sent me a picture of a beautiful sunset from the evening. We all like to think it was Wayne's painting to the blank canvas in the sky April had talked about that morning.
Although, I am very sad about my brother's death, I am grateful for the outpouring of love from everyone who came out and helped in any way.
Wayne, Sr. Sunday:
We went to Mom and Dad's to see my brother, Russ. He lives in Springfield and came up that morning.
Wayne had wanted to be buried across the road from Mom and Dad's in an old cemetery that hasn't had anyone buried for over a hundred years. Dad and several of us went over to pick a spot for Dwayne. Dad had planted pine trees in the cemetery years ago and they had grown to be so beautiful.
The cemetery was all grown up and vines covered the ground. Dad picked the spot and then Dwayne, Chad, Todd and most of the nephews spent the day cleaning up the site and field surrounding the cemetery for parking.
Wayne, Jr., Deone, Bobbie, Kate and I went to Null & Sons to plan Wayne's funeral. You think there is no way you can get through this, but you do. Roger Licklider made it very comfortable and easy for us to follow along. We were going as cheap as possible as Bobbie didn't have any money for the funeral. My family always teases me about buying everything on clearance. We picked the cheapest coffin and then Roger says, "I do have two caskets downstairs on clearance." Hey, even in the midst of tragedy you can get excited over buying on clearance!! Just a little humor to get me through this.
Bobbie had been trying to talk Wayne into letting her buy life insurance on him, but he said no that the VA would pay for all of it. And to Bobbie's shock, there wasn't any money to pay for it and we were at a stand still. I volunteered to take out a loan to pay for the funeral and all memorials could be made out for the funeral. (Through donations and the Rolla Arts Guild auction, the funeral was paid off in just six weeks. We are so appreciative of all donations and the work of putting on the auction by the local artists.) Then it was time to write up the obituary. I thought we did pretty good on it until after the funeral when Mom was able to read the memorial and said we didn't put anything in about Wayne being a Christian. It wasn't on our form we filled out but definitely something we should have thought about. So sorry to Momma for not including it.
We went back to Mom and Dad's. Lots of just sitting around in a daze and trying to visit. Mom and Dad were holding up pretty good. Our good friends, Mike and Susan were at Mom's. Susan knew I needed her. Several neighbors and family stopped by bringing food.
We went over to the cemetery. Dwayne and all the ones helping had done a great job of cleaning up the cemetery and clearing the road through the field to get there. They had even brush hogged the field for parking. The nephews were totally lost in their emotions of losing their uncle and I think working to do clean the cemetery helped them a lot. They knew this is what Wayne would have wanted and making it just right gave them a sense of satisfaction. The cemetery is just up the hill from where Wayne and Bobbie's house is.
More visiting in the evening and then on home to rest.
Woke up to a phone call that Mom had gotten really sick during the night and an ambulance had taken her to the hospital. Turns out she had pneumonia and wasn't doing well.
Kate and I took Bobbie shopping for clothes. J. C. Penney's had a great sale and we were able to get Bobbie a couple of nice outfits and shoes to wear. Kate and I also bought something for ourselves to wear. I think we were glad we were financially able to do this as we always have had to just make do before with whatever was in our closet.
The pallbearers were to wear blue jeans and white long sleeve shirts. Penney's didn't have anything in their size. I knew they would like western shirts so we headed to Family Center. I was so surprised they didn't have any. Now what to do-we went to MFA and they had a few western long sleeve shirts and even one in a small.
We ate lunch in town and then went to order flowers. They were so expensive! Katie wanted a bench from us siblings and they said they could get one in. I called Angie at our local florist, The Flower Basket in Vienna and she had several. We decided to just order all our flowers from her. Bobbie wanted a spray with Wayne's hat, rope and holster worked in. She did an excellent job.
Back to Mom and Dad's where we all once again sat around in shock more or less.
Dwayne and I went to see Mom that evening. She had pneumonia and was having trouble breathing. The doctor was going to try to let her out on Wednesday for the funeral but that didn't happen.
I had planned on going into work for a few hours but there just didn't seem to be time. Lizzy had spent the night with us and her and I went to see Mom. She still wasn't doing too good.
Liz and I did have fun while she was fixing my hair for the visitation.
April said we looked too happy to be going to the funeral home. Believe me, when Dwayne is taking the picture he acts so goofy you can't help but laugh!!
We started out around 5:45 p.m. with the visitation and didn't get done until 9:30 p.m. The line was stretched outside and all along the side of the funeral. It was taking two hours before people could get up to us. Such an outpouring of love from family, friends and some whom you haven't seen in years, co-workers of all of us and about fifty from the Art Group. You didn't have time to grieve during the visitation as you were too busy talking to everyone. Bobbie, Dad and all the siblings and spouses stood up there through the whole evening. Sure had some sore feet from the new shoes!
We left to see Mom and Lizzy went back home with her Dad.
Home to rest as we would have a most exhausting and emotional day ahead for us.
I am so grateful for my family and the support we have shown each other over the past few days.
Saturday, July 5th started out just like any other day.
I started my day off by going to the bank in Vienna and then into Rolla to just leisurely shop.
J. C. Penney's had a good sale. It seems like we've had several funerals to go to this year. I saw a nice black print top and thought it would look good with my black capris and would also make a nice outfit to wear to a funeral. Little did I know I would soon be wearing it.
After shopping, I stopped by the hospital to visit our neighbor, Charles Jurgensmeyer. He had a visitor that kept talking and just wouldn't quit. I didn't think he would ever leave. I visited with Charles for awhile and then headed to Mom and Dad's. I was thinking; I sure didn't plan to stay that long at the hospital. It was later than I planned on. But maybe I wasn't meant to get to Mom and Dad's that early.
While visiting at Mom and Dad's, I heard a siren. It was coming from Rolla and I stepped out on the porch to see where it was going. The deputy stopped at Mom and Dad's driveway and I ran out to talk to him, figuring he was lost. He was looking for a certain address and as I don't know the 911 addresses, could he give me a name. He said a Roberta Feeler called it in. I said that's my sister-in-law, I will have to show you how to get there. Bobbie sometimes goes into a diabetic coma so I thought it was her. After I got in, he then told me it was called in that a young male had went under water and never surfaced. It was in a farm pond. I was thinking it was probably the people that rent my nephew's double-wide as they have young children. My brother's road is very rough and you go down a steep hill to get there. We ran to the pond close to Wayne's house and saw nothing. We then ran on over to the Spring pond but people were there fishing and hadn't heard anything. I struggled to keep up with the deputy. When we got to the car, another couple deputies were there and the Vichy Volunteer Fire Department. I was so thirsty (plus couldn't hardly breathe) and asked if they had any water. He said there was a half empty bottle in the floor board. I didn't care whose it was, I needed water and drank all of it.
We start off again and he asks me if there is any other ponds on my dad's farm. I told him yes but it was a few miles away. They then get a call and I could hear the deputy saying M. G. He then asked me if the initials M. G. meant anything to me. I said, "Oh, my goodness, that's my Dad's other farm," which I had already thought about but hearing about it out loud made it seem worse. All the way there, I kept saying out loud, "Oh, God, please don't let it be Chad or Todd." We went VERY fast down to the farm, which is out in the middle of no where and the road barely passable. There is a long steep hill and then a creek bed and field to cross to get to the ponds. As soon as we got in the clearing and saw my sister-in-law, Bobbie standing there frantically, I knew it was my brother, Wayne. The deputy ran super fast to the first pond and searched and didn't see anything. As I came struggling up the bank, I told him there was two other ponds right above it. I went on to the second pond bank and started walking around it and then I heard the deputy shout that he saw him in the middle of the pond. I decided I didn't want to look so walked back around the two ponds to the other side. By this time, Dwayne was there and he was terrified it was Desmon that had drowned. I went to stand by Bobbie as she was on the verge of hysteria. She kept saying, "I let Wayne down, I couldn't save him" over and over. She can't swim but had gone in the pond searching for Wayne. Even their dog, Whiskey, who had been tied to a tree while they were fishing got loose and kept going under the water looking for Wayne. The dog was barking frantically. He loved his master and went with him everywhere.
Dwayne wouldn't let me look when they brought Wayne's body to the bank. I kept saying I wanted to see him and they all kept saying no. My good friend, Shelley works with the fire department and said she would let me see him. Dwayne was concerned for me, but I had to see Wayne. My despair was so great but I had to stay strong for Bobbie. I kissed Wayne's cheek and then went back over to Bobbie as she is trying to explain to the deputies and highway patrolmen what happened. They had had a great day of fishing and relaxing. Wayne was out in the boat and Bobbie was fishing from the bank. She had caught a fish and couldn't get it off the hook. Wayne rowed to the bank to help her. The boat started floating away and Wayne said he would swim out and get it. Bobbie told him to just let it go, but Wayne wanted the boat back to the bank and to tie it up as they were going home. He was swimming just fine and went under once. He came back up and looked at Bobbie and said, "Bobbie, Honey I don't think I'm going to make it" and then just disappeared, no struggling or anything. We think he had a heart attack as Wayne was a strong swimmer. That helped some rather than thinking he drowned. We were all in a state of shock. The hardest thing I ever did was to make that phone call to Mom and Dad.
Do you now how hard it is to see your brother in a body bag! They loaded the stretcher into the back of our truck as you could only get out from the ponds in a four wheel drive. We hauled him out and to the top of the hill from Chad's to wait for the coroner. I felt like I needed to stay with Wayne until the coroner came. I just stood there, holding on to his right socked foot until they came. Wayne and I were always close and I wanted to be there for him. The coroner said it looked like a heart attack instead of a drowning.
Wayne, Jr. then got there. He had been in St. Louis when he got the call. Wayne, Jr., Bobbie and I all kissed Wayne on the cheek before he left. He looked so calm and peaceful, but our hearts were breaking.
It was time to leave and we all just stood there as if we didn't know what to do. God was with us as we all stayed strong during this difficult time. I still can't believe we weren't hysterical through this terrible nightmare.
We then went to Mom and Dad's where everyone had gathered. Family is so important and we were all there for each other. Some started gathering pictures for the funeral and the memories with each picture. Others just sat around in a state of shock. I worried about Dad as he hadn't broke down but was keeping everything inside. As devastated as Mom was, she said, thank goodness Wayne wasn't driving when he had his heart attack and could have hurt someone else. What a wonderful way to look at it. Ironically, Wayne had just been to see his cardiologist two days before. We don't know the outcome of that visit. Wayne had just had heart surgery last year.
After a couple hours, we went home to rest. Surprisingly, we were able to sleep okay.
I am grateful for family and friends and all who helped us through this very hard day.
I had the afternoon off. Went for a routine mammogram and then on to see Mom at the hospital. She looked better, but was still short of breath. We had a good visit.
As I left, I had a nudge to buy a coconut crème pie for our friend, Wally who is battling cancer. I then decided I was too tired but I kept feeling that nudge. I stopped on the way home but they were still at the hospital for more tests.
Dwayne and I ate a early supper and then went to Chad's for a visit. We left there and then went to Pat and Wally's. Wally was very pleased with the pie. Pat said, "Wally, you were wanting coconut crème pie when we ate lunch and didn't get it". I asked Wally if he sent vibes through to me. Saturday:
April was getting her car serviced at Weidinger's so I picked her and Cash up. We stopped by my friend, Brenda's. Brenda made Cash a Mickey Mouse crocheted hat for his birthday. Wish I had a picture, it's very cute.
We went home and visited Grandpa Dwayne for awhile. He sure loves his grandpa.
We were going to Rolla to visit Mom and picked Dad up to ride with us. Mom was glad to see us, but especially Cash. She said he is one special baby. April, Cash and I went to a couple stores then came back to pick up Dad.
My cousin, Mary Sue and her husband, Tony were having a party for their 5th anniversary. I was surprised at the number of people there. When we left my Dad (who is almost 90) said, "There was sure a lot of old people there. lol
Stopped back by to see Grandpa Dwayne and then on to Weidinger's to drop off April and Cash. He is such a trooper shopping with Mom and Grandma. (of course, the Mickey Mouse toy Grandma bought might have helped some...........)
Saturday night, Dwayne and I went to eat at Sput's. Our friends, Kim and Ramey were there. Had a good visit with them. Then John Hadley came in. He works with Dwayne and has been a good friend. Even helped paint April and Mike's house when they bought it. I showed him pictures of Cash and then he showed me pictures of his coon dogs. I was probably as interested in his pictures as he was mine. lol
We left Sput's and went to Todd's house. Tim (Wally's son) was there and very upset with his Dad's cancer diagnosis. I feel bad for all of them. Luckily, I haven't had to experience a close friend dealing with cancer before. Not sure the proper etiquette for helping them. Sunday:
Got up early and went with my cousin, Mary Sue, Aunt Fern and Aunt Ethel to see my cousin, Wilma in the hospital. She was so surprised to see us. Wilma has COPD and is in very bad shape. Glad we went to see her.
We then went to the casino. Mary Sue and Aunt Fern love going there. We ate at the buffet and then off to the gambling rooms. I was too tight with my money to gamble any but sat by Mary Sue and watched her. I got just as excited watching her as I would have if I gambled on my own. I don't know if Mary Sue thought I didn't have any money as she then gave me $40 to gamble. I didn't do too well and lost all of it. Sure glad it wasn't my money. lol
We stopped by the hospital on the way home to see Mom. She was sitting up in a chair and looked a lot better.
I had a very good weekend. Visiting with family and friends is what life is about and we did plenty of visiting.
I love to read!! My family jokes that if I don't have anything to read I'll read a phone book. And they are right! Family, I would love to have grandkids but I guess that is not in the cards for me right now. I do enjoy my great nieces and nephews. We usually have a couple extra kids visiting every week. I do have "grandkids on loan" from friends Kenny and Shelley Allen. They're Blake and his little brother Nathan, we love having them over!