Friday, November 13, 2009
We got up late and the gang decided we would go out for breakfast at the Pine Cone Restaurant. It is located at the truck stop in Johnson Creek where Wisconsin 26 crosses I-94. It was a few miles up the road and I got to lead the convoy. All went well once I figured out how to get out of the hotel parking lot.
We were very lucky and got a table in the restaurant right away. Soon after we got there, a line-up of people waiting to be seated appeared. Our server was a tall, skinny blond girl who sounded exactly like Tina Fey impersonating Sarah Palin. How could this be, since Palin was born in Idaho and raised in Alaska? It seems that the valley in Alaska where Palin grew up was settled by people from Wisconsin according to research I did later. Further discussion revealed she was also a libertarian Ron Paul supporter. Kindred spirit.
The breakfast was excellent. I'd recommend this place to anyone. Sandy had a huge muffin that was so good that we got two to go, along with a concoction called a Magic Bar. The pastry display at the checkout counter was amazing. They had things called elephant ears that were as big as a dinner plate and the chocolate eclairs were easily four times bigger than any I have ever seen. And they had great looking home made pies. The cashier wondered why we were in town (everyone was wearing vests) and I told her about the funeral. Turns out "Ronny" Keisling was a regular customer. Given Chunk's love of food and good pies, I wasn't surprised.
Back at the hotel, Rainman and Fireball arrived in their truck from Holland, Michigan. Sandy and I checked out because we would have to leave right after the service, and then we all hung out in the lobby until it was time for the funeral home to open at 1:00 PM.
The room wasn't full to start with. At the front, Chunk's ashes rested in an engraved stone container surrounded by rocks, photos, paintings, gold nuggets, his baritone horn and a folded American flag. Among the flowers was an arrangement from the Pine Cone Restaurant. I guess he was a really good customer. At the back, they had a projector with a slide show of photos Chunk had taken, both scenery and people. I watched the whole thing twice, marveling at how he could visualize things I wouldn't have noticced and then captured them with his trusty lens.
At the funeral home
Stewey, KT, rainman, Cheap B, Furhead, Sandy and Wrong Turn
As we waited, people started to arrive. Many were VROCers and more than a few rode, taking advantage of the unusually clement weather. Big Dave, Beth and Fly even rode all the way from Des Moines, Iowa. By the time the service started at 4:00, the place was packed and many of us gave up our seats to local people. Chunk's son MC'd and some local people got up to reminisce. As they told stories about "Chunky", I began to wonder if Jefferson was a breeding ground for stand-up comics. With Chunk's sense of humor, he would have loved the occasion. I said a few words on behalf of VROC and all Chunk had contributed to our group.
After the proceedings were over, we were all invited to a bar down the street to celebrate a life fully lived. Sandy and I had to pass because getting back to Sudbury on time meant we needed to make it to Escanaba, Michigan tonight. We honked as we passed the bar, sad that we couldn't stay to share more of the day with our extended family.