Sunday, July 15, 2007

Lady Bird is laid to rest

I was supposed to be out of town today, but rushed home late last night so I could be here today when Lady Bird, my gracious neighbor, would be taking her last trip past Hummingbird Farms.

I really wanted to honor her, she has been such an inspiration to me and so many others. I wasn't sure exactly what to do at first to honor her, but I decided simplicity is always best, so we just bundled up a few bunches of lavender and tied them with bows at the front gate. Jack and I stood at our entrance, Jack with his hat tipped, and me holding a bundle of flowers.

We could hear the sirens coming. First it was one police officer on a motorcycle, and then the rest came buzzing by. There had to have been close to 100 officers on motorcycles. The picture really doesn't do it justice.

And then the hearse. I'm sorry y'all, I just don't have anymore photos because I just felt tacky standing there snapping pictures. I really wanted to be in the moment and soak it all up. It was sad. Very sad. But, I also kept reminding myself that this is a celebration. A celebration of 94 wonderful years of life.

And then the family car approached. Okay y'all, I realize that the cortege had begun on Congress Avenue in Austin with hundreds of people lining the streets, and onto Johnson City, where again hundreds of people lined the streets, and where I'm sure Mrs. Johnson's daughters, Lynda and Luci, made appropriate efforts to wave to all the mourners turning out to show their respect. I know that. But I have to tell y'all, that as the cortege approached our gate, keep in mind that we're 10 miles from Johnson City, the family car approached us and Lynda rolled down the window and waved to us! I'm not talking a half rolled down window with a dainty little flutter of her hand, I'm talking an entire arm out the window wave!

I have to tell you that it gave me that same elated feeling when I was 17 and Mrs. Lady Bird Johnson waved to me from the porch of the Texas White House.

Now I don't mean to make light of the situation, y'all know I have the greatest respect for the Johnson women, but I have to tell you that my mind started doing it's thing (which is dangerous), and this is what it told me Lynda was saying with her wave:

"Oh, look everyone! It's Lavender Chick! Hi Lavender Chick, I just LOVE your blog, I read it everyday! And your No. 145 Lavender Lotion, it's the best EVER! And yes, Mother loved it too, and she also read your blog and she really always wanted to have you over to visit, but you know - with her health and all it just didn't work out, but she knew how much you respected her, and she knows she was instrumental in your wish 25 years ago to live in the Texas Hill Country....."

Y'all just let me believe this for a while. After all, if I was to tell anyone 25 years ago that Mrs. Lady Bird Johnson waved to me, and that with that wave she was telling me I would be her neighbor someday and I would get to live amongst wildflowers and carry on her passion for conservation, everyone would have thought I was nuts.

But, guess what - Here I am!

It's an honor to live in her country, the Texas Hill Country.


justabeachkat said...

Awwwww! I'm so glad you were able to be home to say one last goodbye to Lady Bird.


Sandi @ the WhistleStop Cafe said...

The world is one lady smaller~ she will never be replaced. What a strong and gentle southern woman.
I'm glad you were standing ther for all of us!
I found you through Kat~ I'll visit again.

LivingTheLife said...

I LOVE that you were able to stand at your "paradise" to see off a true southern lady to her new "paradise"...I loved the part where you soaked up the wave of Lynda just have your moment of believing...I think what you said may not be far from the truth...what an impact she's had on your life...and many, many others...what another great tribute from you to a Great Lady...Bird...I betcha she knew about you...I believe that to be true...can you tell I'm a sucker for happy endings....