And yet as proud and happy as I was to have three children eager and excited to go back to school, it was also an ending. I felt keenly the loss of summer, of days that stretched before us without the constraints of time and schedule, of memories that I was largely responsible for creating, the ones my children store in their treasure box labeled Childhood.
But then, at the end of the week, Jeff and I flew back to California to be with our family. We went to bid a final farewell to our beloved, Leo Vanoni. Hundreds gathered at the fairgrounds and lingered through the day - telling stories, sharing tears and laughter. "Family is everything and everyone is family," that's the motto by which Leo lived his entire, amazing, inspiring life. Leo's life philosophy didn't click for me until this farewell trip: Leo Vanoni was a man of great faith who quietly and humbly lived out that faith in every action he took. His heart was huge; his spirit, gentle and kind; his words and actions, loving and affirming. In death, he has awakened me to something new about him.
|The marquee at the fairgrounds says it all; dozens of photos cataloging a life well-lived; Leo's Fair Chair and hat; a gorgeous photo of Leo, holding an avocado, by his talented granddaughter Nicole Ennis-Brooks.|
|Jeff and I said our own private goodbye to Leo on this quiet stretch of the Pacific Ocean, opposite the fairgrounds. |
Jeff and his cousins each wore a Bolo tie, one of Leo's own, as requested by Leo.