I kind of had one today.
President Gerald Ford was laid to rest in his hometown of Grand Rapids today after a good week of memorializing the man with various stately honors. Gerald Ford served when I was just a kid, and admittedly my knowledge of that time in American history is not the best. I do know that his place in civil service way outreached his initial goals, and that he served at a time so shaky and disenchanted that I wouldn't take it on myself for anything. I know he was a man of unwaivering faith in a world of uncertainty, and that in and of itself I respect.
My bestest friend Naive just happened to be in GR today on an errand, and she thought enough to call me just as Ford's funeral was drawing to a close, because she wanted me to hear the jets fly over "in person", on the phone with her, as I watched the ceremony on television.
We chatted idly as we waited, I on my couch, and she standing in a parking lot hundreds of miles away from me. We discussed the health of our children and various things going on in our harried lives, and then she interrupted herself, squealing "Here they come!"
I could hear the distant roar of jet engines growing on the phone line, and my friend's voice grew in excitement with them. She described the first four F15s flying over her head, followed by the next and the next. Her awe was palpable, and I felt it as if I were there with her. As the screaming planes faded on the line, I watched them approach on my tv screen. They raced over the Gerald R. Ford Museum and burst apart in the Missing Man Formation. As I watched, I could hear Naive choking out, "OMG, I have chills!"
And I felt them too.
She told me she took a picture, and if it came out decent she'd send it to me. Later this afternoon this arrived in my email:
Here is the picture of one set of the F15's flying overhead. It was so nice talking with you and sharing that little snippet of history together. Miss you even more though.
It seems strange to find a ray of happiness in a solemn occasion such as this, but the fact that my dear friend thought to share this with me really turned my day around. I have been struggling with many burdens lately ... It's wonderful to be reminded that you matter to someone just because. My best friend brought me to where she was and gave me a cognitive historical souvenir all my own today. That's pretty cool.
Thank you, sis. And Rest in Peace, Mr. President.