Last weekend was a tough one out in Katemcy. Our little community lost two of our gems. Skip Edmiston and Jo Evans were both sent upon their journeys, and the people of Katemcy said their final farewells.
Skip had moved back to Katemcy shortly before I did. It was typical to see him walking the downtown "square" of Katemcy, leisurely taking in the sights and sounds along his way. He would raise a hand in greeting and, always, you would see him smile.
Most often, I would see Skip and Marie heading to town on Sunday morning for church. They were usually heading down the road just in front of me, and that let me know that I was still on schedule.
At Sunday's graveside service, Randy Beckmann explained that the United States flag would be folded and presented to Robin; and, that one of Skip's favorite songs would then be played. The crowd was dutifully subdued while Randy and John peformed the flag ritual. Then, as the first notes of the "Aggie War Hymn" began issuing from the speakers, the entire assemblage began to giggle.
Skip was many things in his life. One that he was always proud of was being an Aggie. I'd be willing to bet God welcomed him with a "Whoop!"
Jo Evans had been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Daddy and Mama would load up the kids and head over to Cotton and Jo's for an evening of visiting and dominos. We would play hide and seek while they played 42.
I can recall heading home from Mason and seeing Jo and Jeanie rock hunting. They might take the time to wave, if they weren't too intent on digging out a small stone they had located. They could spend hours scouring creeks, rocks, ravines and fields. And then, they were like giddy schoolgirls showing off their prizes.
In later years, Jo slowed down and had to give up her rock hunting. But, her flower bed on the south side of the house became a new passion. Everyone turning east on 1222 watched her small and neat garden blossom with color. She changed out decorations seasonally to match what was in the flowerbeds, and one never knew quite what to expect.
And in these last years, her little electric scooter was a frequent sight buzzing all around the place. She might head over to the watermelon stand to chat with Nancy. Then, she would motor down to Gary and Karol's to check on the great-granddaughters. If she glanced up and saw Cotton loading his boat, the scooter could kick into high gear so that she could find out where he was going fishing and when he would be home.
So now, the population of Katemcy is down by two. Contrary to what many might think, that doesn't mean we're dropping off the map. C. J. is up on the hill with her kids, and Welmann is just across the way with his little ones. Skip's neighbors, Ryan and Lisa, have their own new addition to the community. Gary and Karol are a bit further up the highway now, but still in the greater metropolitan area, with their girls.
The great thing about our small communities is that we still hold dear those that have always been here; and, we welcome those new additions that keep us alive. We will all miss Skip and Jo; but, they would have been the first to say that it was time.
And in Skip's case, his comments might have begun: "Hullabaloo, Caneck, Caneck!"
It’s all just my opinion.