I spent the last two evenings at my sister's home in Fayetteville, Arkansas, as a convenience for attending the memorial service across the line in Missouri for my good friend who passed away last week. The memorial service, held yesterday morning, was a beautiful and touching affair. I rode there with my sister and her daughter, Tiffany, and my son, Tim, drove down from Kansas City and joined us in Noel for the service.
While at the church where the service was held, I was able to visit with former students and old friends - some of whom I hadn't seen in the past three decades. It was a nice crowd, and I was pleased to see that so many people cared about James Carroll and came out to share their memories of him. His life was celebrated and his passing was mourned. James touched many people in his brief time on earth.
James and I were remarkably similar when it came to our political views, and I saw something later yesterday afternoon that I knew would have pleased him. Gail and I were driving along one of the busier streets in Fayetteville (home of the University of Arkansas) when we came upon an unusual site - especially out in the Ozarks. A large group of people, fifty or seventy-five, were lining the street with placards in support of the Standing Rock protesters who are currently demonstrating against local drilling by Big Oil companies in North Dakota. A major concern of the Standing Rock protesters, a group with many Native Americans and U.S. veterans, is that the drilling will ruin the drinking water on North Dakota Indian reservations. It was raining in Fayetteville as the Arkansas protesters stood in solidarity with the ones in North Dakota, so these local folks were firmly committed to their cause.
Pa Rock is with you guys - in spirit, if not in rain gear! Stand strong and make some noise - your cause is important!