My relationship with the Mulders goes back decades. Mike, Jim Betz and I (or as David knew us Reggie, Vertlee and Geno) were the original three amigos.
The Collins family and the Mulder family grew up together. We had Jeff and six months later Mike and Susan had David. We had Lindsay and five months later Mike and Susan had Joanna. Always trying to keep up! As the old adage goes “you can’t pick your family but you can pick your friends” and we picked the Mulders.
Our son Jeff couldn’t be here today but he shared some thoughts that capture all of our favorite memories.
As I think back about David’s life I find myself flooded with some of my best memories. David and Joanna were like siblings to me and Lindsay growing up and I really can’t put into words how much they and their family have meant to us.
I remember how excited I used to get before going to visit David at the lake house in Miller. The late nights we spend holed up in his downstairs room were always my favorite sleep-overs. Somehow, though, we still found the energy to get up the next day and put on some of the greatest home run derby match-ups the sport of beach whiffle ball has ever seen. I still remember the epic showdowns between Cecil Collins and Ken Griffey Mulder, all pitched by hall of fame whiffle ball hurler, Vertlee (Jim) Betz.
As I am sure is true for many of us, I will also never forget how much fun I had with David during our many sausage making weekends. He was the only one I could count on to tell me how many pounds of pork butts Mike had actually bought. During the cutting process he would always patiently guide me through my “discard pile”, usually pointing out the small number of glands I had actually identified. And when we were making links together, he never got on my case when I fed the meat too fast, resulting in the formation of a few “home-wreckers.”
David’s sweet and considerate nature was evident in nearly everything he did. When my grandfather passed away last year, David was the first person to call me and see how I was doing. Not matter how far apart we were geographically, he always made an effort to reach out and stay in touch. David was a special person and although I will miss him terribly, I will never forget all of the kindness and great experiences he has shared with me over the years.
As we celebrate David’s life we will always remember his
- Big heart;
- Big smile;
- Infectious enthusiasm.
We are all better people for having known and loved him. This is, indeed, the ying and the yang. David made our lives better and now with his passing will create a vacuum and a hole in our hearts.
I’d like to close with a poem from Jane Kenyon which has been extremely meaningful to me in times like this:
LET EVENING COME
Let the light of late afternoon
shine through chinks in the barn, moving
up the bales as the sun moves down.
Let the cricket take up chafing
as a woman takes up her needles
and her yarn. Let evening come.
Let dew collect on the hoe abandoned
in long grass. Let the stars appear
and the moon disclose her silver horn.
Let the fox go back to its sandy den.
Let the wind die down. Let the shed
go black inside. Let evening come.
To the bottle in the ditch to the scoop
in the oats, to air in the lung
let evening come.
Let it come, as it will, and don’t
be afraid. God does not leave us
comfortless, so let evening come.