After a long day of driving to OBX, attending a funeral, a graveside service, and a gathering at the home of the bereaved, we decided that, before retiring to our borrowed condo for the evening, and since we were, after all, at the beach, we were by-gosh going to go to the actual beach, walk barefoot in the sand and dip our toes in the ocean. It had been a miserably hot and muggy day, but right at sunset, the breeze shifted, the sky turned miraculous, and the ocean was cool and felt fantastic. A lovely way to end the day.
Here is some of what we saw:
I dedicate last night's sky and this blog post to Vernon Clair Wingenroth, (1928-2006), my sister's father-in-law, and, as one of his sons so eloquently eulogized yesterday, a great man.
An ordained UCC minister, Vernon had a heart for the poor and underprivileged, as was evidenced in many events of his life, which included when he marched for civil rights in the 1960's, delivered food at great personal peril to those displaced by race riots, and was heart-wrenchingly fired by his congregation when he attempted to integrate their church.
But in addition to his public life, Vernon was a fantastic father to his three sons and an equally fantastic husband to his wife, their mother. Vernon was also an accomplished painter, and my own parents are fortunate to own one of his seascapes.
For five of the last seven years of his life, Vernon and his wife displayed tremendous love as they took daily care of their bedridden special-needs son Chris in their Nags Head, NC home, until Chris' death at age 40, in 2004.
Vernon was diagnosed just a month ago with liver cancer which progressed incredibly rapidly, and died in the same room as their beloved son Chris, with family all around. His life is a shining example to many. His funeral, blessedly simple in format, was one of the most beautiful I've ever attended. He leaves behind a heart-broken but resilient and dynamic wife, two sons and their wives, five grandchildren, and many other relatives, friends and acquaintances who admire him. I feel blessed to have known him and to have had the chance to pay my respects to him and his family. My thoughts and prayers are with them now as they continue to grieve their loss.
May we all live such inspirational lives and be loved and admired by so many.