On Thursday, Pat Bunch was laid to rest. I’ve known Pat and his family for forty years. He was a milk man with a houseful of kids, me included, living in Clinton, Oklahoma. Vanessa was my best friend then and is today. We’ve grown up and geographically apart, but we have that friendship that picks up where it left off, no words needed. That friendship that beckons “come” and one of us is set in motion. Pat was always a part of that – he was Van’s dad. Really he was every body’s dad. He was dad to his kids, her kids, their kids, those kids and our kids. He was just that kind of man.
When I was in high school, waiting tables in our local cafe – Pat would come in to eat about every day. He always ordered rhubarb pie. We never, ever had rhubarb pie. Several years ago I found some strawberry rhubarb jelly and took him a jar. He stays in your memory like that.
There was never a time when he didn’t have a hug for me and a word of encouragement. He always told me how pretty I looked, and that I was just about as pretty as “his woman”. He and Myrna were married for 41 years. Pat referred to my husband as “Kim’s man” and always asked about him. He was thoughtful like that.
His funeral service was beautiful – one of his saddles, laced with Oklahoma wheat was draped across his casket. His grandson and namesake Jerimy Pat wrote and sang a song about “plowing to Heaven and waiting for us there”. It brought me to tears – the song was right on. Pat died on his tractor. I imagine God blessed him to still be doing what he loved. Pat was a hard worker – he lived his talk, right to the end.
I am going to miss Pat – there is now a hole for memories to fill. The preacher said Pat wasn’t a rich man – but I have to disagree. He was wealthy in the ways that matter. He loved, he showed it, he spoke it and he blessed us all with his generous, joyful spirit. Let us all be inspired by his example. I pray.