Saturday, 9 June 2012

May the road rise up to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
May the rain fall soft upon your fields,
And until we meet again
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

An old Dalesman has died this week after a two or three year battle with cancer. A battle borne with courage, strength and good humour by all accounts at his funeral today.

Funerals here in the Dales, are great occasions. This was as great as they come because he was such a well known dealer in hay, straw, cattle and sheep. He knew every farmer within a wide radius and they knew and loved him.

The farmer, of course, went - along with our neighbour. They travelled the seven or so miles to the church together, thinking that parking might be a problem. But a local farmer had opened up a field. And, by golly, it was needed. The church - semi-redundant now - is still opened up for weddings and funerals. It is a lovely church and very large. By the time they got there there was not even standing room in the church and by the time the service began there were as many outside the door as there were inside - so maybe five or six hundred people there. They certainly gave him a good send-off.

There were refreshments afterwards in the Village Hall and then a final toast to "Aud Les" in the local pub. What a splendid occasion and what a wonderful tribute to the man who, in spite of his illness, planned his own funeral - the hymns, the prayers, everything - in advance.

It may seem rather old-fashioned to some "townies" that Dales funerals still take place like this - but I say - long may they continue in this vein. I hope the present generation take note and vow to continue the tradition whether they are religious or not.


The Solitary Walker said...

A wonderful send-off and tribute to a character who was obviously well-known and well-liked in the area, Pat.

Rachel Fox said...

You really can't beat a good funeral! It's always nice to think that someone deserves the good send-off, that they have done enough in their life to make people want to celebrate them and wish them well as they move on to the next level (whatever that is!).

Pondside said...

We all need to celebrate a life well-lived. It always saddens me when I see the 'no service by request' - more and more prevalent these days.

Heather said...

He must have been a much loved and respected character for so many to turn out to say goodbye. I always think it very sad when there are hardly any mourners at the service.
Yorkshire obviously did him proud!

MorningAJ said...

"And may you be in heaven half an hour before the devil knows you're dead."

With friends like that, he probably was.

angryparsnip said...

What a wonderful tribute and a lovely post today.
I teared up reading about it.
@MorningAJ had the perfect comment.

cheers, parsnip

Tom Stephenson said...

A grand blessing. I hope to receive the same one day, even though the road has risen up to meet me on more than one occasion.

Michelle Palmer said...

Beautiful~ and so treasured a man! To live your life in a way that even in death... no one would miss the chance to be at his side. Thank you for sharing~
You're a treasure, too :)

Bovey Belle said...

I can only echo what everyone else has said. THIS is total respect - a man you would be proud to call your friend.

Penny said...

We still have funerals like that here, probably becuse we are a country town.
I love that photo, it is stunning.

Elisabeth said...

My Irish aunt repeats that prayer whenever one of ours is born, Pat, and whenever someone dies. This sounds like a glorious and fitting send off for a true 'dalesman'.

Arija said...

Hear, hear! A funeral needs to be steeped in tradition. When people go, it is good to remember them well.
my sister's funeral as much lie this one.

Dave King said...

I just recently went to such a funeral - and what was most encouraging was that our two grandsons were very much on the side of such occasions. Good to know it's not only our generation, I thought.

Golden West said...

The picture you chose to accompany your text is as perfect as can be, Weaver - just lovely.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thank you for the positive comments - and for visiting too.

Midlife Roadtripper said...

I'm so sorry about your friend.

The lovely benediction you have here - we used that at the Eagle Scout ceremony for each of my three boys. I truly love to hear it - and read it.