Sunday was a bittersweet day. About 20 of us gathered at the cemetery for the unveiling of Ed Baum’s headstone.
Ed was my wife, Layne’s, father. And if I may say so, a good friend. We shared a lot of good times over the years, plus a few that weren’t so hot.
For a guy who seemed to have little enthusiasm for the concepts of balanced meals or exercise, he made it to 88. All things considered, that’s impressive. Still, it’s hard to believe he’s gone.
There was a lot to like and respect about Ed. From meager roots, he built a great family and a successful career. His three great loves were traveling, reading and his wife, Rochelle. Oh, how he adored her.
Ed was a really smart guy. But not arrogant smart. Imagine talking to a good friend who had just made a fascinating discovery. That’s how conversations with him always seemed to go.
I think humble intelligence might be the second thing I most admired about him. Either that, or his great sense of humor. He could be very funny. The first thing is a no brainer: he was a good guy.
One of the highlights Sunday was a reading of The Dash, a poem by Linda Ellis.
In case you are wondering, the dash in question refers to the line separating the date we are born from the one when we die. The poem’s message is to fill each of the days in between with as much passion and purpose as possible.
It’s a great irony of senior living that while we are surrounded by people nearing the end of their journey, we don’t tend to think much about our own. Maybe it’s because there are so many other things screaming for our immediate attention. Or maybe it’s because the subject is too frightening to contemplate.
But perhaps we should be more mindful of how limited our time here really is — and how we ought to be spending it. For as the poem reminds us:
“…when your eulogy is being read, with your life’s actions to rehash, would you be proud of the things they say about how you lived your dash?”
Rest in peace, Ed. If shrimp and Pepsi are served in heaven, we’ll know where to find you.