The world lost another fine character this past week. Benjamin Gibbs Philpott, the BFF's big brother extraordinaire, headed off into the sunset. He will be sorely missed by his son, his wife, and his baby sister. Not to mention the church full of friends and family members at his funeral on Friday. I loved Ben because his sister loved him. I got to know him over the years, most memorably at Sunset Beach. After I returned from sabbatical in 2008 and the Ex-Ex and I reunited, we re-tied the knot there on our original anniversary, July 24. The party was fabulous, held at the King-Philpott compound. Good food, good drink, six boys, one girlfriend, and Gran Helen. This is how I will always remember Ben.
Photos of the day--
The happy couple...
My family after the ceremony
My BFF and best maid/matron/buddy/look-a-like/QOATM rocking the pink cowboy hat with me
BFF's oldest and Helen (I wonder what he was up to, too, Gran)
Helen surrounded by the girls-- she treated me like a daughter
The master working his magic with Frogmore Stew (note the amazed, hungry looks!)
The secret ingredient?
That night, Ben introduced me to Frogmore Stew, but he also introduced me to M.F.K. Fisher and her writings about food and France. Ben knew me well enough to know that I would devour her books. He was a reader and a writer. I kept up with him through his blog, which he started back in 2009. His buddy Lee made us laugh and cry with his remarks at the memorial service. He also read this entry from Funkybeno. A fitting way to say good-bye.
I am sorry if I have made you cry, BFF. I want you to remember this fabulous day, too, though, in the midst of your sadness and tears.
I am not what anyone would call a religious person anymore. I only very sporadically attend a church service. I was, once upon a time, a very faithful Baptist. I have not forgotten God. I still speak with him on a daily basis. I just consider myself more spiritual now, embracing all that is good in all religions, but not what people have done since time began or continue to do to one another in the name of religion. Several of the passages from the service at Grace Episcopal Church struck a chord--
We do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.
Doesn't that describe love? The love we have for all those we hold so dear, but who we will have to let go at some point?
The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures;
he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul;
he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his Name's sake.
Yes, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil; for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies;
thou anointest my head with oil;
my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
I like the image of God/Jesus as a shepherd who looks over his flocks and cares for them. I don't believe in a God who punishes people by sending horrible afflictions and death. Humans are the ones judging, not God.
John 10: 11-16
Jesus said, "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away-- and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd."
I saw this little guy in a field near Les Baux de Provence on Thanksgiving Day in 2008. I watched him and his buddies frolic and play for several minutes that day. A joyous sight that I will never forget. They leap and run around in circles!
We will never forget you, Uncle Beno. And we will party again someday.
It is on the menu for the upcoming trip to Sunset.
Many thanks to Deirdre and the BFF for some of the photos.
Bon appétit and happy memories to all!