A 100 Squadron plane flew low over the Methodist cemetery just as the minister was committing the body. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. The timing was impeccable but who could have planned the weather? After the pass the plane shot vertically into the sky disappearing into the clouds. 'To get away from the weather' his son said. What a send off!
The Squadron Leader, the newly departed one and neighbour, was greatly honoured in our small valley. He served as a Royal Air Force pilot most of his working life. His son, also an RAF man, had arranged the fly past.
Five of us had trouped along the bottom road to the cemetery, just a couple of minutes walk away. The clouds were readying for rain, a small group of mourners gathered on the side of the narrow road. We were invited to the burial by the widow, one time receptionist at our local doctors surgery. One way or another we get to know the neighbours.
As one of the monks remarked, We grew up with Mr. A. Indeed, most of us would have stopped to pass the time of day while out for a walk. My conversations in the early 1990's with him were about re building dry stone walls, which he did rather expertly. Rather more testing were the irate phone calls I'd receive from him while the Guest Master. Your people are on my land, again! For the Wing Commander, straying guests were stray stock to be chased off with much hulewing. He was a force to be reckoned with. Frightened and confused the guests would scramble back over the fallen down wall. Later we put up large signs to deter the guests from inadvertently wandering off the monastery property.
I'll not forget the the sight of the plane rising vertically into the sky this afternoon; any more than I'll forget the cloud of golden leaves whipped up into the air by a stray breeze as the late Head of our Order entered the cremation oven. That was back in April 2003.
The Universe has perfect timing and this is true for everything.
Well done Squadron Leader, you did well and have a good 'flight' into the clear blue sky.