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Farewell to Freeman

Freeman's Final Stop
Freeman’s Final Stop


Friday morning it was time to do what we’d come for, say good bye to Deb’s dad, Freeman Shera.  The small Fairfield Cemetary in Fairborn is next door to the main gate of the Air Force Base.  It was Memorial Day weekend, so there was a field of flags waving.  We’d been by Hollon’s Flowers and picked up the beautiful arrangement they’d made out of what they considered leftovers

Doing Our Duty

Towards the back of the facility was a small white building used as an office.  Someone on a mower carefully groomed the grounds for the special weekend.  No one was in the office, but soon the man in charge came running across the cemetery waving his hands in the air.  He was so sorry he wasn’t right there to greet us, but it would have been hard for him, since we’d arrived almost half an hour early.

Memorial Day flags flying in Fairborn.

Small towns are different.  I’d buried my father just a few months before, but that was in Dallas.  Everyone was nice and polite, but I knew I was just one of many grieving daughters they were respectfully putting through our paces.  This kind gentleman in Fairborn actually cared.  He’d never met Freeman and knew Deb only from phone conversations, but his genuine concern for us was readily apparent.

DSC_0252This was a small event.  Deb and I were the only mourners.  No minister stood with us to say comforting things. The two cemetery employees made sure they’d done what we wanted and then stood aside to assist us, should we need them.  I placed the flowers over the monument.

We approached the small hole which had been dug into the ground and placed Freeman’s remains on Deb’s mother’s vault.  It comforted Deb to see it.  After a moment, I asked Deb if she wanted me to pray and she did.  I thanked God for the life Freeman lived and asked protection for his daughter.  The  amen was enthusiastically echoed by the two men.

At Deb’s request, they filled the hole and we placed the flowers where Deb’s parent’s lay – together again, after many years apart.  There was nothing more we could do.  So, we drove away.

Accommodations, Attractions, DESTINATIONS, Restaurants & Bars, Road Trips, Shopping, TRAVEL, United States

Nashville to Fairborn

Deb pulls into her hometown.
Deb pulls into her hometown.


Driving past the exit for The Hermitage was hard.  Before I left Dallas, I knew the first few days of our trip weren’t about tourist attractions, but I particularly love to visit presidential destinations.  I couldn’t help but have regrets as we passed the exit for President Andrew Jackson’s home.  Oh well, onward and northward.  It wasn’t going to be my last regret of the day.  We were passing through Kentucky and for some reason, every time I go to Kentucky I’m just passing through.  Note to self – go to Kentucky!

On Down the Road

Because we changed time zones, we lost an hour before we’d even had lunch.  It was a shorter drive, so we didn’t make as many potty stops or driver changes.  We rolled into Dayton around two and were in sore need of sustenance.  We found a Chili’s and tucked into some nachos and margaritas.  I kept trying to think of something clever to say about two Dallas dames having nachos and margaritas in Dayton, but mostly I just missed the original Chili’s at Greenville and Meadow.  Do you remember when the whole menu fit on a half sheet of paper and focused on hamburgers? I do!

An Adequate Accomodation
An Adequate Accomodation

The next thing we did was get lost.  You’ve heard that you can’t go home again?  Well, Deb was home, but she didn’t know her way around.  We did eventually find the Ramada and it was adequate, but nothing to waste blog-space over.

Deb’s Home Twon

Fairborn is an interesting town.  There’s a huge airbase there, so parts of Fairborn are booming. Deb was amazed.  One of the roads she usually took to get from one place to another has been completely taken over by the base.  However, the Fairborn she grew up in isn’t there anymore.  Oh, it’s there in the form of a shuttered downtown and an empty movie theater, but the town she knew doesn’t exist.

Our first job was to find a florist.  With Dayton right around the corner, all the local florist Deb knew had closed down.  The only one left in the small town was Hollon Flowers – but what a florist.  If you EVER need to order flowers in the Dayton area PLEASE call them.

The shop was charming.  For many years, she’d had another shop out from town in a suburban setting, but had recently moved in town.  The shop is behind her very pretty Victorian home, just around the corner from a downtown that is striving very hard to come back. (Travel note – Fairborn is full of lovely Victorians!) The shop has more than flowers.  I saw many cute gift items and longed to linger in her garden, but we had things to do.

When we told her what we needed, she was dismayed.  Expecting a truck in the morning, she’d cleaned out her flower inventory of any iffy items, but we needed our arrangement before the truck would get there. She took us back into the refrigerator to see what she had.  We found some pretty purple roses and some white snapdragons.  That inspired her and she found some lovely spider mums and reached for some dark purple flowers to fill in the blanks.  She sent us on our way and told us we’d have something pretty the next morning.  She kept her promise, too.

Memory Lane

Who lives here now?
Who lives here now?

Then Deb made sure she remembered how to get to the cemetery and where her parent’s headstone was.  That out of the way, she wanted to travel down memory lane.  It was a bittersweet drive through her small town.  The new owners weren’t keeping up her old homes the way she wished they would.  The high school was a nursing home.  Nothing was quite what she wanted it to be.

After a while, we had to end the tour.  Deb had contacted an old friend and we were having dinner with her in Yellow Spring.  I can’t wait to tell you about the charming little town and the great restaurant we found there, but you’ll have to wait until next week!