So sad, yet somehow appropriate timeliness as the phone in our pocket vibrated.
Just 10 minutes until rodeo time, but we recognized the voice, and intuition revealed reason for the call.
“This is Kathryn; I wanted you to know Mother passed away peacefully last night.”
Our heart sank as the world seemed to end. One of the most-dedicated, best-known and truly-talented horsewomen, our dearest friend Arletta Flory had gone to a better hereafter.
That was the only consolation, as Arletta had been confined to a care home, so contrasting to her full-life outdoors closet to God’s nature, with horses, family and friends, uncountable.
Confident that Arletta was looking down smiling again from the back of her beloved black Foxtrotter mare Mamie, we proceeded with our announcing responsibilities.
Still, we couldn’t keep our mind focused; continually reminiscing about how Arletta had endearingly heartened our life.
Several times in our somber homebound visits, always about horses and related activities, Arletta would intervene: “You’re going to speak at my services.” We’d nod and quickly change the subject.
But, Arletta insisted again in her final hours, as we were humbly honored, yet so unqualified. What could we say that would be due honor, respect and remembrance of one who favorably touched so many?
Just tell it like it was, and is.
Twenty-three years ago this month, a beaming, “obviously-farm” woman, wearing a pink cap and baggy tan t-shirt, both with horse insignia, pulled into the barnyard: “Hi, I’m Arletta Flory. I want to look at your horses.”
Never did that pleasantry and outgoing affection change as our lives there forward became closely intermingled.
Sometimes one is concerned when a person 85 years old passes away, if anybody will remember her. No need.
Parking lots were filled at the evening-before-visitation and churchyard the next morning as loving family and friends overflowing crowded together in love and respect for Arletta.
Although our reflections may have lasted 30 minutes, four words are all really necessary as memorial to Arletta Flory: “faith, family, friends and horses.”
Reminds us of Hebrews 11:3: “Faith in God is foundation under everything that makes life worth living.” Likewise, Job 35:8: “The ones who care are your family and friends.”
For Arletta’s sake, there’s confidence in Isaiah 2:7: “The land is full of horses and their chariots.”