trying to make him laugh, trying to impress him. I can still remember the few times in my adult life that I made him laugh. He had a very strong sense of humor, as my father did (but suppressed in his old age) but he rarely laughed when I wanted him to. I remember one time, Bushy, my brother Darrel and I were sitting in Mom's kitchen and there was a fly buzzing around us, driving is crazy. Apparently, it must have landed on me because Bush pointed quickly and said,"Fly!" Confused, I looked both ways, and then started flapping my arms like a bird. The other time was around 2001, when Mom, in her moping way of talking, was telling Bushy and I,"My doctor said I can't have any chocolate---none---I asked him if I could have even a little bit, but he said no. I wonder why I can't have any chocolate?" I replied, calmly,"Because he wants it all for himself". Bushy and I chuckled like two drunk old men, and then, a few times later, we'd remember that and laugh again. Even at 35, I was so eager to impress him. I followed him out to his car in June 1996, as my father lay dying of cancer in our living room, and in a now-embarrassing exchange, told Bushy,"When Dad dies, will you be my father?"
When I was married, Miimii and I would run to Bushy's place to get a break from my parents and sometimes we'd play cards or just talk about life. Even at 73 he was very sharp--he loved to read.
He and my father were close and when they'd get together, they'd tell story after story of their youth (they lived with their mother, supporting her, until my father married at nearly 32). We'd heard the stories before but we wanted to hear it told by them. My father was sensitive but, like Bushy, had a devilish sense of humor when he let go and the two of them together were priceless. When Bushy sneezed he'd scream,"At--SH-T!!!" He did it so often I didn't notice anymore.
I was so alone at the funeral. I couldn't cry, though I had an explosive grieving which I didn't dare show in public. It was all I could do to stay composed and a few times relatives would ask me,"Are you sure you can carry the casket?" I couldn't look at his face. When his widow, Aunt Bettye gave me a hug as I walked in, I had to turn away and go to the back of the room. My father died slowly over nine months and I saw him at many steps and took care of him with my mother for the final ten days. Bushy was there and then he was gone. I wasn't ready for this.
I asked to carry his casket, as did my brother, and cousin David (Donald's son). Bushy loved flying--he'd stopped short of getting a pilot's license in the 50's for financial reasons, but in recent years flew with David, an instructor pilot. They'd often fly together and Bushy would take the controls. As we stood around telling funny stories of Bushy, David did spot-on impressions of him, remembering how funny he was. Then he said,"I signed off his pilot's license and slipped it into his casket". Bushy was finally a pilot.
It was a great honor to carry him to his final resting place, as it was to carry my father around the house in his last days. There's great