With Deep Gratitude: Ken’s Memorial Service

Yesterday was Ken’s Memorial Service.  After hearing Ken say frequently after a funeral, “That minister (priest) didn’t even know …. (fill in name of deceased).”  Like writing his obituary, I decided to take on the planning for the service. I have a tendency to be that little red hen in the children’s story. 

 

First I realized an open air setting would be best, but I wanted a shelter in case of rain.  Then I started making lists of types of music Ken liked – it is a diverse list from baroque to folk to hand drumming to chanting.  I also considered what ideas and quotes best reflected Ken’s approach to life – spiritual, engaged, his professions, hobbies and philosophy.

 

I arranged with musicians who could play that weekend; I designed a program and sent it to our printer. At the first table people got programs and signed a guest book with space for Ken stories

 

 

 

 

Music started with hand drumming. 

 

 

 

 

 

I chose readings.  I chose first from Ecclesiastes:

Then I read psalm 16

 

 

 

 

Then our friend Tammy played two hymns. And then there were pottery quotes that reflected his philosophy and approach and resulting pottery: 

 

 

 

 

 

“…the pots I admired most …were the quietest pots…The focus of his work is the most concentrated and personally expressive.  This quality has been apparent for…years.  The feeling in his pots comes from a high inspiration…He draws his strength from the soil of his own nature and his life experience.”  Soetsu Yanagi, The Unknown Craftsman

And “A good potter cannot treat his raw materials merely as a means of production;  he treats them as they deserve to be treated, with love.  He cannot make things merely as utensils; he makes them as they have a right to be, as things with a life of their own.  When a potter not only knows his job, but delights in it, when technique and inspiration become identified, the glow of life will begin to appear in his pots.  Nobody can say in rational terms exactly what this glowing consists of. or how the inanimate can be capable of transmitting life from the maker to its user, but it is a fact of common experience.

This aspect of pottery is not always discernable to a first casual inspection; but provided it is in daily use, it will gradually become visible, just as good character comes to be appreciated only through continued acquaintance.”       Michael Cardew, Pioneer Pottery

 

 

 

Mary T played Give yourself to Love and we joined the chorus

 

 

 

 

 

We did a buddhist chant from Japan as Ken loved both chanting and the time we spent in Japan:

Chant

KANZEON

NAMU BUTSU

YO BUTSU U IN

YO BUTSU U EN

BU PO SOEN

JO RAKU GA JO

CHO NEN KANZEON

BO NEN KANZEON

NEN NEN JU SHIN KI

NEN NEN FU RI SHIN

(repeat five times)

 

 

Translation:

Kanzeon!* Salutations!

At one with Buddha!

Related to Buddha

In cause and effect,

Having affinity for

Buddha, Dharama* and Sangha*.

 

Our True Nature is

Eternal, Joyous, Selfless and Pure.

So let us chant every morning Kanzeon,

So let us chant every evening Kanzeon,

This very moment arises from Mind.

This very moment is not separate from Mind.

 

*Kanzeon is the bodhisattva of compassion.  A bodhisattva is a person who has   attained nirvana(heaven), but comes back to help us here.

*Dharma is cosmic law

*Sangha is community

 

 

Then Janette and Dianne played first waltzes and then Bach

 

 

 

 

Then I read from one of Ken’s favorite authors – Wendell Berry.  I found one that mirrored Ken’s approach to work: 

“He wanted to finish the row, and there was not much left.  With the end of the row and day in sight, he worked easily, easily and fast, as if he were going downhill.  He worked swiftly and accurately to the end of the row until there was no more ahead of him, and he was done.  Weariness then seemed to flow downward through his body, and with it came an old elation… It was all his own work, done in quietness that extended over the  whole afternoon and that seemed present.  In that quietness, and now complete,  his work was lovely to him, and he walked along beside it, reluctant to leave.” Wendell Berry from A Friend of Mine

 

 

Another from Wendell Berry reflected Ken’s position in the community of local growers: “In all their minds his voice lies beneath a silence.  And in the hush of it they are aware of something that passed from them and now returns: his stubborn biding with them to the end, his keeping of faith with them who would live after him, and what perhaps none has thought yet to call his gentleness, his long gentleness toward them and toward this place where they are at work.  They know that his memory holds them in common knowledge and common loss.  The like of him will not live again soon in this world, and they will not forget him.” Wendell Berry’s novel The Memory of Old Jack

 

 

 

And finally a reading to remind us all of his love of dance and Anni Spring played a dance tune. “Most Saturday nights he knew of a dance to be held, sometimes miles away.  And he would go, washing and dressing after work in haste to be gone.  For he loved the music and the mingling, the drink and the talk, and the laughter of the dances they used to have back in those old days.  Women moved him.  And he was a man subject to music as grass to wind.  And he was a gifted dancer.  And he could be carried away”. Wendell Berry’s novel The Memory of old Jack

 

 

Friends helped set up a table of treats and beverages.  So many people brought food – thank you all!

 

 

 

 

And we visited for about an hour.

Thank you to all who helped, and all those who came to share and celebrate, and thanks to Russ Borud for the photos!

 

2 Comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing this. What a lovely tribute,I wish I could have been there.

  2. Bob and Erica Keppers

    Thanks for sharing, we couldn’t attend. it is a wonderful inspiration to see all the people Ken has touched!!

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