Spud

Today, just after midday, Morice O. Mumby, Commander, USNR, retired, was interred in the Miramar National Cemetery. It was a military service, impressing those who are not used to our way of doing things. Vanda, his wife, asked me to speak. i was pleased to be so honored and the speech was easy until i gave it. Right now, there are about a gazillion things i would like to say about Spud and about helping Vanda navigate the maze of the Veteran’s Administration requirements of the next of kin while they are bereaving their loss of a loved one. But that can wait.  This is what i said at Spud’s service today:

When my father passed away, the men of his generation unanimously told me he was a “good man.”

This is about the highest compliment a man could give another.

Spud was a good man.

We were neighbors. We lived across the street from each other for thirty years. We, our spouses, and other neighbors, shared our homes for cocktail hours and supper and celebrated major events together. Spud frequently gave me a bottle of his homemade port, which was as good as any port i ever tasted.

Spud and I were both Navy commanders. He was proud of his service. He should have been. He flew helicopters in Vietnam, the Atlantic, the Pacific, and the Mediterranean. Other than telling sea stories about others, Spud never bragged about his own achievements. It is fitting he will be interred today right after Independence Day. He helped us keep that independence.

Spud and Vanda were together. He told me she was his “little spitfire.” They hunted together. They worked their garden together. They watched the grunions run together. They dug clams together. They raised quail together. They were beautiful together, a perfect match.

Spud played golf with me until injuries and ailments kept him from playing. He became a part of our Friday Morning Golf legends.

But for me, most of all, i will remember our waving at each other when we retrieved our newspapers, met at the mailbox, or caught each other at chores in our front yards. We would meet each other in the middle of the street. We critiqued all of the world, including our homes and our yards. We would tell tales, sea stories, jokes: all of the things men share with each other.

And it was enough to let me know Spud really was a good man.

When i feel sadness coming on because Spud has left us, i will remember how Spud would want me to react…and i will smile for knowing him.

Rest In Peace, Buddy.

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