The words of David Schoenmaker:
Good afternoon. For those who don’t know me, I am David, Ann’s brother. We are here this afternoon to honor and remember Blade as well as spread his ashes. We chose to call this a wake, not a traditional wake, but more by definition … informal, family and close friends, food, laughter and stories. I believe that is exactly how Blade would want it.
So, as we each mourn and weep in our own ways as we begin to heal, we should laugh — dance if you wish — and share a good story. Blade loved a good story.
I remember first meeting Blade. I was intimidated by this heavy equipment operator, wiry, hard working tough guy. Top that off with that head of perfectly groomed red hair … Yeah, it was the hair.
I first got to know Blade as we were building our home some 30 years ago. He was always there willing to pitch in and do what he could. He helped tear down part of the old house, he excavated, backfilled and graded for the new house.
He always gave us a chance to drive the machines, trying to teach us what had become second nature to him. I remember him saying, “You control the excavator by your butt where you feel what it’s doing.” I admitted “all I can feel is a broken seat cushion poking me in the butt.” Of course, Blade cracked up laughing. He loved to laugh.
From that conversation, Blade and I started calling each other “Butthead,” a term of affection.
So, one day I’m out on my tractor, mowing a hillside, and Blade comes running over and flags me down. Oh man, he looked pissed. I braced myself, thinking maybe I had called him butthead one too many times!
He yells up to me, “Hey, butthead, now you are being a big butthead! Lower that bucket on that hill, it’ll tip the tractor over and kill you. … I wouldn’t want to lose you!”
As I got to know this tough guy, I came to realize he was a big softie, and what a huge heart he had! I loved the guy; Blade loved well.
We chose to spread Blade’s ashes on the earth of the hillside of the pond and along the stream. The earth he so loved to work with his machines. That as the seasons pass, they would flow into the water which leads to the valley and from the river to the sea.
A toast to Blade: I’m sure God must have needed your help in grading and paving those Streets of Gold.