First Tulip of Spring Surprise

Easter Sunday 03-27-2016I posted to Facebook last night that it was going to feel strange waking up at 1618 Kingsway Drive and not having a plastic or real Easter egg waiting for me to find.

After sleeping uncharacteristically late, even by my standards, I eventually had to get the day going.

While the bacon was frying, I slipped out the car to pick up something. When I walked back to the house, this is what was waiting in the flowerbed next to the front door.

Last fall, I did a post on finding The Last Rose of Summer. I felt better seeing The First Tulip of Spring.

What’s the pink thing?

Easter Sunday 03-27-2016While I was trying to figure out how to best compose the tulip picture, I saw something pink on the right-hand side of the frame. What is that?

It was a long-lost Easter egg

Easter Sunday 03-27-2016When I got closer to it, it turned out to be a broken piece of an ancient Easter egg. No telling how long that had been hiding waiting for me to find it one last time.

Remembering Dad and Mother

Easter Sunday 03-27-2016Mother was religious about decorating the graves of relatives in tiny rural cemeteries scattered all over Cape and Stoddard counties. One of her concerns was who would remember them after she was gone.

I decided that the tulip, some cuttings from the flowering trees and bushes from the yard and the old Easter egg would show I hadn’t forgotten. I can scratch flower arranger off my list of possible vocations, but I hope the thought counts.

Lila’s Mother

Easter Sunday 03-27-2016The next stop was St. Mary’s Cemetery to mark Wife Lila’s Mother’s grave.

Ray and Rose Mary Seyer

Easter Sunday 03-27-2016Just around the corner from Lucille Perry is the stone for Lila’s Uncle and Aunt, Ray and Rose Mary Seyer. They died so recently their stone hasn’t been engraved with their death dates, and the Missouri clay hasn’t settled and been covered with grass yet.

The couple were like father and mother to Lila, I could have listened to Ray spin yarns about growing up in Swampeast Missouri. They were good folks.

Rose Mary died October 31 of last year, and Ray followed March 17, 2016. Maybe Mother’s yard will have enough flowers that I can leave more than a single tulip the next time I visit.

Ray Seyer 1922 – 2016

Ray SeyerWife Lila sent me a text the morning of March 2: “Just found out Ray is in MICU at St. Francis. The family has been called. I’m in tears.”

Ray was Ray Seyer, her uncle, a man who was like a father to her.

The other shoe dropped Sunday night: “Uncle Ray died around 6:30. Marty [her sister] just let me know.”

Formal obituary from the funeral home.

Raymond C. Seyer, 94, of Cape Girardeau, Missouri died Monday, March 7, 2016 at Saint Francis Medical Center. He was born January 13, 1922 in Advance, Missouri to Philip Jacob and Alvina Christina Dohogne Seyer.

He and Rose Mary Hoffman were married February 26, 1946 at St. Mary Church in Cape Girardeau. She preceded him in death October 31, 2015.

Raymond served in the Navy during World War II. He was an auto mechanic and instructor at the Vocational School.

Member of the Knights of Columbus

Men at Knights of Columbus 04-02-1967He was a member of St. Mary Cathedral, Knights of Columbus Council 1111 in which he was a past Grand Knight and Thomas A. Langen Assembly, Fourth Degree in which he was a former Faithful Navigator. He was also a member of American Legion Post 63 and V.F.W. Post 3838.

Survivors include children, Michael (Brenda) Seyer and Dan (Mary) Seyer of Cape Girardeau, Diane (Ray) Staebel of Liberty Hill, Texas, Janette (Stephen) Bennett of Alexandria, Kentucky, Joyce (Dave) Bruenderman of Cape Girardeau, Linda (Bob) Garner of Jackson, Missouri, Ralph (Debbie) Seyer of Kirkland, Washington, and Steve Seyer of Saint Clair, Missouri; brothers, Lawrence (Ida) Seyer and Elmer (Susie) Seyer of Oran, Missouri; sister, Mary Woltering of Breese, Illinois; 27 grandchildren; 42 great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents; wife; son, Timothy G. Seyer; brothers, Zeno, Albert, Paul, and Henry Seyer; sisters, Sr. Michaelette Seyer, Syvilla Sobba, and Sr. Mary Agnes Seyer; and grandchild, Wendy Seyer.

Lila remembers Uncle Ray

Ray SeyerMy Uncle Ray was generous, joyful (and gruff, when necessary) and always welcomed me when I went home to Cape. Last evening, Uncle Ray peacefully closed his eyes for the last time.

I never missed a chance to stop at Ray and Rose Mary’s house when I was in Cape. My first memories of my uncle and aunt were as a 10-year-old child walking home from swimming lessons at Capaha pool. My brother, sister and I would stop in for a drink and a snack before walking the rest of the way home.

In later years, I was welcomed with a hug, a cup of tea ( or a glass wine, if Ray was showing off homemade someone gave him) and any number of good things that might be on the table. Then, he would begin the story of the day. He told good stories… and he laughed when he told them.

Ray and I talked gardens. He told me what kind of fertilizer to use and never to plant tomatoes and bell peppers in the same place. I would send him pictures of my garden, and he would save me green tomatoes and garlic when I came to Cape in the fall.

Ray and Rose Mary were a unit

Ray and Rose Mary SeyerI always thought of Ray and Rose Mary as a unit… never one or the other. And now, with his passing, they are, again, perfectly paired. I know she was waiting for him with a smile. He closed his eyes for the last time, yesterday and opened them to gentle Rose Mary’s face. They are together for eternity. I am sad and happy at the same time. I will miss them more than anyone could know.

Preserving his stories

Ray SeyerI stood for several minutes looking down at Ray at Ford and Sons Funeral Home. My eyes got misty and I had a hard time swallowing.

Something was wrong.

At first, I thought it might be because he was dressed in a suit. Some men aren’t made for suits, even though I had seen Ray clean up nicely.

Then, it dawned on me.

I told a family member, “That’s the longest I’ve ever been in that man’s presence without hearing a good story.”

You could tell when Ray was going to let loose with a good one by the way he’d get this half-grin with his lower lip pooched out just a little bit; then the crinkles would show up in the corners of his eyes. That’s a sign of a man who has laughed well and often. (Click on the photos to make them larger.)

Recording his stories
In 2010, Lila, Mother, Rose Mary and I got together over at Ray’s house south of the old Sunny Hill restaurant so I could videotape some of his stories. He and Mother grew up in the Advance and Tilsit area, so they tag-teamed a lot of tales.

Here are some of the stories and videos that came out of that session.