The place was filled to capacity when we arrived. Two blocks of chairs with an aisle between faced the stately casket.
There were three of us and it seemed best if we sat in the bleachers at the back of the gymnasium.
Row after row of flowers were arranged in tiers the full length of the gym. We later learned the local florists had been asked to stop delivering orders because there was no more space for display.
Just before the appointed hour of the service, several young men began to arrive. Neatly groomed in white shirts and jeans and carrying their hats, in single file the young rodeo men quietly took their seats near the back of the congregation.
His name and date of birth were printed on the program. Nineteen short years on earth and today we were mourning his passing.
Riding chaps lay draped over the casket near a large painting of the deceased, placed at an angle near the foot.
Travis was a rodeo man. On his way to Alabama to take part in his specialties of Team Roping and Saddle Bronc riding, he was tragically killed while he and his friend were driving through the state of Kentucky.
Tired and excited about the next event, he asked his friend to drive while he rested his head against the back of the seat. As he slept they came upon an 18-wheeler parked on the side of the road. Too late to react, their truck veered off the road and lodged underneath the semi. The friend survived the crash but Travis did not.
I am usually in control of my emotions at funerals. My husband and grandson were attending this sad occasion with me. Our grandson was, at that time, a bull rider in the rodeo. Knowing the potential for injury and death, our love and concern for him and for these young men was strong.
For them, the excitement and the challenge outweigh the potential danger.
I was determined not to let my emotions overtake me.
Near the end of the service, the Dad and Mom of the young man, stood near the casket. Joining hands, a song was played. They stood quietly, and listened.
I’d never heard the song before. It was perfect for all who were sharing their grief.
I’ll never forget it and I hope you don’t either.