Whale's Sendoff Service

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Posted by Bill Dutcher on June 15, 1998 at 02:50:55:


Guests from as far away as Australia, Georgia, North Carolina, Maryland, Michigan, Ontario,
and Quebec gathered for a memorable Saturday evening reception at
Roaring Brook Ranch/Resort. The food was very good, and the cameraderie
was even better.

We raised our glasses high, with many toasts celebrating the life &
times of Erold Ansell. Anecdotes and recollections flowed from Miz Di,
Shobek Dillon, HJ (John Spick), Swaggie (Jim Lehr), Mother of all Pearls
(John Garner), VOA (Tom Lindsay), Gizmo (Ken Edick), Medic (Tim
Scarborough who had ridden his Wing over 14 hours in the rain to be
here), the author, and others.

And after every anecdote, we quaffed a ceremonial sip of an Australian
brew, remembering our missing Whale.

We watched videos by both Grumpy (Ken Weston) and the Americade Video
Crew, which captured Whale's minutes on the Americade stage. We cried,
we hugged, and we laughed.

It was as good an evening together as the touring fraternity could have,
given the sad circumstances of the occasion.

At the end of this teary & joyful evening, we emerged into a clear,
starlit evening. The clouds had parted, revealing the uncountable
breadth of the heavens above.


The heavens were crying this morning, as mourners arrived at the
cloud-shrouded summit. The mood was cloudy too, as strains of Enya,
filled the summit's octagon pavillion. Shortly after 6am, the service
was opened by Father Cox, who read some excerpts from WOTI posts, and
commended Erold's spirit to the universe.

Miz Di then recollected some of the most memorable emails and
communications her office has received in the wake of The Whale's
passing. Shobek Dillon's remarks were brief and heartfelt. Swaggie
played the didgeridoo. The sounds of Amazing Grace echoed across the
mountaintop accompanied by the assembled group, and Erold's spirit was
sent heavenward.

Erold's ashes will be taken home to Australia. His mother Evelyn will
scatter his ashes over the Great Barrier Reef outside Cairns, where he
so loved to dive.

Godspeed Erold.

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