Remembering past makes death easier to take

Clouds are far behind her now, troubles melted like lemon drops. Skies will be blue again. Some day.

As Rosine Kennedy sang “Somewhere Over The Rainbow,” those who loved Cass Larson cried, trying to swallow the tears. But that’s nearly impossible at the funeral of a friend.

From the time John and Cass Larson moved onto the farm just south of us so many years ago, I felt an affinity for her. Her name was Cassondra, for heaven sakes. And though Sondra is not Sandra, to a young girl, it was close enough. And she was beautiful.

The first time I met Cass and John, it was after church on a Sunday morning. It surprised me when Dad pulled into their driveway, but we all crawled out of the car and trailed into the house. By the time the last of us came in, John was laughing.

“Four girls!” he exclaimed.

Dad just grinned.

At the time, John and Cass had three children Christy, Laurie and Jimmy John. After a while, Ted Edward came along. Ted. Not short for Theodore. “We’re going to call him Ted. I’ll name him Ted,” Cass said. Or words to that effect.

She should have called him Pistol or Dynamite or something equally as explosive. As cute of the little guy was, he was just as bent on exploration. Of any kind. When he was 4 years old, he took the riding lawn mower apart piece by piece. Dad told John not to be too upset, that Ted was learning. I’m thinking Dad was glad Ted was learning at the farm south of us.

You’ve got to expect farm wives to be dirty occasionally, messed up and sweaty, but I never saw Cass in that condition. Maybe I just didn’t see it, but even when I saw her working, she looked ready for a day in town. Maybe I didn’t see anything but her beautiful face.

But that was nothing compared to her beautiful spirit, the laughter that darted from shining eyes and a big, broad smile.

Time and separation can tear friendships apart, leaving only a remnant of old times, but that didn’t happen with Cass. I’d spent years babysitting her kids I told you about rearranging the furniture in their house one night when I babysat and her reaction, the sound of a slow leaking “Oooohhhhh.” Then I graduated high school and left for college and a career.

I seldom saw her after that, but her reaction when we met stayed the same a gorgeous smile that ran from her mouth to her eyes. I cannot imagine any other greeting from her. For me or anyone.

Cass couldn’t stop the happiness that followed her, even when times were bad. Or sad.

Not one to be forgotten, she is buried in Cass Cemetery of Cass Township in Hamilton County.

“We had to take her there,” John said at the gathering for lunch after the funeral. Still stunned by her unexpected death, he grinned at the thought. It had to be.

So long friends, until the next time when we’re together.

Sandy Mickelson, retired lifestyle editor of The Messenger, may be reached at