08 Aug NEXT GREAT ADVENTURE
“THE LIFE OF THE DEAD IS PLACED
IN THE HEART OF THE LIVING.”
Marcus Tillius Cicero
This morning I attended a funeral. Lately I have been unable to attend the funerals of friends and loved ones. This one was local and I was able to get out and go.
My friend was 98 years old. She loved, my love, of history, the outdoors, the farm, the ranch, reading, research, books, newspapers from long ago, and on Tuesday nights nothing interfered with watching NCIS.
Even with all the visits over the years and dinners up here on the hill, there was so much of her life I did not know about. Like the fact that she worked for Pratt & Whitney during WWII. She went to work in safety shoes & denim overalls. Yep, a Rosy the Riveter, but she added up time cards. But I bet she would buck a rivet if she had to.
One of her friends was dating a sailor from Sun City. He had a brother in the Army. They met. The rest is history. Brenda is the name I always knew her by. Katheryn was her official name. Brenda had a friend and they did an imitation of a Bob Hope radio comedy act featuring ‘Brenda & Cobina’. After that she was called Brenda by everyone including by her husband Max.
She shared my love of history and when I started publishing stories of Kansas and Kansans she would go through her stacks of clippings. About every two weeks I would get an envelope (sometime a big manila one) full of clippings. When people ask me where I find my stories, it was sometimes from clippings from Brenda. Sometimes it would take me hours to get through all of them. I am missing her letters that always came with the clippings.
Brenda was married to Max McLain one of the two sons of Mac McLain of the Sun City McLain Round-up Rodeo. Once the second largest privately own rodeo in the world. We spent hours looking at the photo collection of the rodeo and all the legendary performers. For a lover of history and rodeo the time spent I will cherish.
When I first met Brenda she took care of a wonderful flower garden in her yard. She would walk to the library and all over town with a friend and stopped at every garage sale she passed. She loved blue bottles and had a vast collection. She was no hoarder what she had was displayed. I never made it down the stairs to the basement because of my bad legs, so did not see her basement museum collection.
You knew she lived an extraordinary life even though she was so quiet. From Kansas City, to Colorado, California, Arizona. She was at home farming in Western Kansas, farming and ranching at Sun City. She loved traveling all over and always had her camera in hand.
Brenda loved Will Rogers, movies by Gary Cooper, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, James Stewart, Deanna Durbin, and the Jason Borne Trilogy.
I miss the Jeep Grand Wagoneer tooling around town, the phone calls, and the envelopes.
God speed Brenda on the next great adventure.
I am going to miss you Brenda McLain.