May 6, 2017, Cottonwood-
There was a magnificent scrum of motor vehicles, and drivers, when I arrived at the parking lot of Taco Don’s, and took my place in the rapidly forming motorcade. The hearse and family cars were followed by the motorcycles, then the classic cars (Jayme was a car buff, being from eastern LA County) and us friends and admirers, taking up the caboose end.
We set out ahead of time, and had cleared Prescott, by the time we were originally supposed to leave. Some stragglers caught up with us, on Highway 89A, and passed ahead, to get to their designated spots. By the time we reached Jerome, and wended our way through the “ghost town’s” streets, everything was in perfect order. Jerome, like much of the Central Highlands, is in full bloom. Here are some lupines, that graced our view.
We reached Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, on the northwest side of Cottonwood, with 30 minutes to spare. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the church’s cross-street neighbour had set up two golden Dol Harubangul (Korean “stone grandfathers”, the symbol of Jeju, where we lived from 1986-92). This was very much something that Jayme would have found wildly amusing. As the statues are usually black volcanic rock, this was definitely a nod to the area’s mining culture.
Immaculate Conception is a spacious, majestic parish church- almost cathedralesque, in size and airiness. The celebrant priest, also a friend of Jayme’s, noted that the man “felt at home here”, making frequent trips over the mountain, on Sunday mornings, perhaps because of the exhilaration one feels, when going through the pines, and along Jerome’s streets. The church felt quite homelike for us, this morning, with a robust celebration of Jayme’s relationship with his Lord and an outpouring of love, from his family and closest friends.
The exquisite service left me chastened, as funerals so often do. I thought, once more, of my own ongoing mission, knowing that being there for others, something that Jayme Salazar did so well, and at which I am improving, is imperative. We will all gather again, in his memory, on May 20, for a Fiesta Grande, at Prescott’s Watson Lake Park. I promised his dearest friend that I would be there early and leave late.
One other nice touch- when I stopped for lunch, at Colt Grill, in Old Cottonwood, the soundtrack featured Mike and The Mechanics’ “The Living Years” and REM’s “Everybody Hurts”. The Universe always speaks clearly.
“If you don’t give up and don’t give in, you may just be okay.” – Mike Rutherford
“Hold on”.- Michael Stipe