Live, Love, Laugh June 25, 2016

29 Jun

This issue of Buzzard Notes has a few tears mixed in with it because my good buddy, Gale Ritter, passed away this past May. Her family and many friends held a great celebration of life for Gale this past Saturday, June 25, 2016.  Profound words are difficult to voice right now, but I hope to somehow convey how much this celebration meant to me and how it helped me to begin to heal.

Gale and I met some 54 years ago at Chapman College where we were PE majors. We formed a fast friendship that continued for all these many years. Gale was an avid RVer and became a camp host at several national parks and I got to visit her at three of them. We had many adventures together in college and at these parks. I visited her at Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge this past March that I recounted in an previous Buzzard Notes. (Don’t forget to click on the photo if you wish to enlarge it)

This is my favorite photo of the two of us and was taken at Pahranagat last March. Gale always loved a campfire and always built a good one.

This is my favorite photo of the two of us and was taken at Pahranagat last March. Gale always loved a campfire and always built a good one.

So it is that I flew to Columbia Falls, MT to join the celebration and finally get to meet Gale’s girls and her extended family. Gale talked about all of us so much that we sort of already knew each other. I had never been to Montana and now I would really like to go back now because it’s so beautiful and the people are so sweet.

These are some of the trees that line the road in front of the Ritter Homestead.

These are some of the trees that line the road in front of the Ritter Homestead.

I loved being at the homestead. Gale’s daughters, Cindy and Teri, made me feel so welcome as did all of the folks I met. It was like being in another large family. The celebration was very well planned (but informal, my kind of affair) with canopies (in case of rain), lots of food, many memories and lots of hugs and love. It was a true neighborhood/friends gathering as many of the folks brought food. I tried to sample each of the dishes…and then a caterer supplied barbecued pork, coleslaw and beans! Oh my! Many of us ate too much, but it was soooooo good!

I would like to share some of the gathering pictures as all of them contributed to a grand celebration. Gale would have loved it!

Teri is telling Hank to get back with the other dogs to get back with the other dogs. Then, the other dogs are asking, why can’t we be out with Hank (because he was big enough to jump the fence.)

Teri is telling Hank to get back with the other dogs to get back with the other dogs. Then, the other dogs are asking, why can’t we be out with Hank (because he was big enough to jump the fence.)

Hank! Helps us get out to join the fun!

Checking out a family album.

Checking out a family album.

Photos throughout Gale's life

Photos throughout Gale’s life

Gale was in Vietnam as a member of the Red Cross in the late 60s. She never talked about it much and consequently, I didn’t know she had received a medal for civilian service in Vietnam.

Gale was in Vietnam as a member of the Red Cross in the late 60s. She never talked about it much and consequently, I didn’t know she had received a medal for her service in ‘Nam.

The committee to get the kegs going properly.

The committee to get the kegs going properly.

It works!

The committee was successful!

Some of the crowd.

Some of the crowd.

This party crasher just showed up and didn’t belong to anyone in the crowd. He tried to get tidbits from folks but it didn’t work.

This party crasher just showed up and didn’t belong to anyone in the crowd. He tried to get tidbits from folks but it didn’t work.

Teri and Cindy began the story telling of memories of Gale and invited other to share some of their stories. We all laughed at some of the fast car stories about Gale. She did love fast rides. She also loved horses and there were some good horse stories…some of those were fast rides, too.

Teri and Cindy began the story telling of memories of Gale and invited other to share some of their stories. It was good to laugh at some of Gale’s fast car stories. She did love fast rides. She also loved horses and there were some good horse stories…some of those were fast rides, too.

Jeff, one of Gale’s sons-in-law, wrote some poems for Gale.

Jeff, one of Gale’s sons-in-law, wrote some poems for Gale.

Can you hear me now? Yes, I'm bringing home the beer!

Can you hear me now? Yes, I’m bringing home the beer!

Cindy, me, Teri and Gale’s brother, Rich

Cindy, me, Teri and Gale’s brother, Rich

The extended family and Hank.

The extended family and Hank.

I am appropriating some of the Gale-isms that were sort of Gale’s philosophy because I really think they say a lot to all of us. (Thanks to Jeff for having these in Gale’s obituary)

*Always Live, Love, and Laugh

            (Also referred to as “L” to the 3rd power – L3 )

*The faster you go, the less you feel the bumps

            (This still applies even if you’re not driving down dirt roads)

*Take time to appreciate your surroundings no matter where you’re at

            (The where isn’t as important as what you get out of it)

*Be sure to follow the 7 Ps of Life

            (Prior Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance)

*Fly the American Flag proudly

            (And always thank a Vet for their service)

*Remember to blow with the whim

            (Enjoy the unexpected and discover the extraordinary)

I miss Gale and all that she had to offer life. I will miss having adventures with Gale but am very grateful for the ones I had.

I want to thank the Ritter family for having me at Gale’s celebration. Being there helped me find some closure to Gale’s passing and also aided me to think and act on L3 and appreciate my surroundings. I hope the celebration did so for her family also.

(Thanks to Dick Schmidt for this photo)

Photo by RDS

 

 

 

 

 

4 Responses to “Live, Love, Laugh June 25, 2016”

  1. Samk June 29, 2016 at 1:01 pm #

    Yes…Gale was a nice person…I met her at ash Meadows in death Valley a few years ago…..Peace

  2. Barbara Allen June 29, 2016 at 1:11 pm #

    Oh, this is beautiful. So sorry…..a close loss is difficult, no way around it.

    Beautiful pictures…what a celebration of life!

    Barbara Allen barblallen@mac.com cell: 714.329.8131 home: 276.676.2891

    >

  3. Connie Raub June 29, 2016 at 9:55 pm #

    I’m so glad you added this to the collection of Buzzard Notes. I loved all the pictures of the family, dogs and beer set up. I don’t know how you had the time to take so many good pictures when you were socializing. I’m sure Gale would have been pleased that you made the effort to come and share your stories and love with her family and friends. I’m CERTAIN they have heard stories of you! I didn’t know Gale well – we ran in different circles for most of our Chapman days, but I know you were great friends and you both helped formulate the people you became ~~~~~~ GOOD ONES! Love to you!

  4. Glenda Gregory July 4, 2016 at 1:20 pm #

    What a lovely celebration of life in honor of Gale. Thanks for sharing the celebration of such a special person and friend–now she has touched even more lives. I’m glad you have such good memories of your dear friend to help you through this difficult time. Many thoughts of love and sympathy to you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: