Judy loved to sing, and she joined the chorus regularly, even as she drifted deeper and deeper into dementia. Eventually, Ralph needed to sit with her in the chorus so she wouldn't fall off her chair while she sang. Ralph couldn't sing a note, but he mouthed the words to keep her company and to be with her.
Friday morning, we gathered in the club house for a "Celebration of Life" for Judy. At least 50 of us were there. Bob Younts, one of our long-term renters, had been a pastor in his earlier days, and he spoke glowingly of the life and love of Ralph and Judy, and of the promise of a Kingdom where she'd know no more pain, no more suffering, no more sorrow. And that Kingdom awaits us all.
Afterwards, we joined in a "finger food" festivity. (Suzy prepared a Crock Pot full of turkey meatballs in barbecue sauce.)
Such a difference from our younger days when death left a void, tearing at our hearts and minds, with grieving survivors weeping, and somber faced friends mouthing words of condolence. We celebrated. Ralph stood up and told entertaining stories of Judy's love of life and her sense of humor, because none of us had known her before her stroke, which began to seriously limit her physical and, later on, her mental faculties. We had a celebration of our Judy, and we look to the future, when -- hopefully -- our families and friends will gather to celebrate our lives, as we move on to the new life awaiting us.
Back to Bonfante Gardens.
Wow, it's fun looking back, as we did the other day with Bonfante Gardens. But look out if you're interested in going!
Reader Mary Russell told us that Bonfante Gardens, in Gilroy, CA, is still operating, now under the name Gilroy Gardens (which doesn't sound nearly as appealing as the old name) and doing well. Their website address is http://www.gilroygardens.org/.
We peeked at the site and had our eyes opened for us. The gardens have grown into the only horticulturally-oriented theme park in California. They have 21 rides for folks of all ages, and are working to educate us all about how man can help shape and preserve the natural world. (Editor's note: man hasn't done too great a job shaping the natural world so far, but the natural world is doing a "Bangup Job" shaping mankind! Think volcanoes in Iceland, earthquakes in Haiti, China and elsewhere.)
Happily, Gilroy Gardens is fully handicapped accessible, and you can even rent electric wheelchairs. It seems nearly every ride offers special access for disabled folks, and that's a real benefit.
|From 2004 Bonfante|
The park is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational organization (but the daily admission is not a membership, so you cannot use it as a tax deduction). Oh, and the admission price does not include parking in their lot: that's another $10, so load up your friends and carpool!
|From 2004 Bonfante|