It was one of the more spectacular sunsets I have seen in a long long time. This is partly due to living in town where sunsets are obscured by your neighbors house but mostly because it was truly a spectacular sunset. Almost a third of the sky was a brilliant orange and another third was various shades of pink. As I drove south alone, I had a hard time concentrating on the road instead of looking always to the right. It was a shame that house after house that I passed was empty. In fact, probably most of the southern west corner of the county was empty. Where were they? They were all where I was heading, at the visitation for a former neighbor of mine and father of some close friends.
Richard was the father of the other two boys in my graduating class. There were only three of us boys and the other two were fraternal twins. On a side note, there was also one of the five girls in our class of eight also there so with half our class there, it would have been almost like a mini-reunion had it not been for Richard's death. He had a heart attack while driving and ended up hitting a concrete bridge railing head on. The coroner and witnesses to the accident have surmised that he was dead before hitting the railing so it was a quick way to go and nobody else was hurt. You can't ask for anything more than that.
In the very rural area of Iowa where I grew up, there are no bigger social occasions than when a disaster strikes or someone dies. More than once I have been to a house or barn fire where half the county stands and talks with the owners while the volunteer fire department puts out the fire. In this case, it was a death and since I knew the man of honor and his sons well, I decided I needed to show up. I saw people I haven't seen in twenty years and I spent a long time talking and laughing with everyone before I got through the receiving line and started on the long drive back home.
I hadn't made any new year resolutions because that has never been my sort of thing to do but on the way home, I resolved that I should make an attempt to contact all seven of my former classmates and set up some sort of reunion this year. Its been seventeen years and I'm sure we all have stories to tell. With the older generation of farmers dying out and almost gone now, there won't be too many more social occasions where we can all meet up.