That was a long day!
Just got home from Grattan. The Family held a Memorial Service for their Dad EJ. There was a big crowd, 200 or so folks. Everyone the family ever met seemed to be there! They had a nice catered lunch under a huge tent with lots of pictures and memories to go around. I got to spend time with each of the Boys, a few of their kids, a bunch of their friends, and Corner Marshals!
EJ had a history even I didn’t know about! In his late teens/early 20’s he was buff! He looked like Jack LaLane!!!! Bright blonde hair and fit he did some kind of acrobatics!!!! Really cool pictures of him through out the years, and, all the kids & grandkids. When you have 13 kids you will collect a few Grand’s too!!! I snapped pics with my phone, as many as I could. He was also in the Navy! The Navy color guard was there, did the flag ceremony and 21 guns. Then the bugler played Taps….which rang off the hills and trees and was awesome! EJ’s grandson read a poem and scripture then Sam spoke to the crowd.
What he said was very emotional for him and his Family. He said what helped and made them feel better were all the calls they received and how these callers would explain how the track and facility gave them great memories and many friends over the years.
EJ’s Wife, Mary, is not doing well. Her health is also in question. The Family was rotating sitting with her at the House in the paddock, they fear she may now give up after taking care of EJ for the past few years of his illness. She did not feel up to joining the crowd. I waited for each of them to come out to the tent, with such a large crowd you had to wait your turn but they really appreciated speaking to everyone.
I told Huey that my parents ashes were buried out there, I had not shared that with all the Boys. He was emotional, as was I, and said “There are a lot of ashes out here!”
Grattan is more than just a race track, and the Family more than just good friends. The work they did way back in the day, to clear the land, by hand. The old Tower, the drag strip & christmas tree! The old paddock, the lower was our playground and was nothing but grass! The 55 gallon drums filled with sand on the front straight that made a pit wall!!! Each of the Boys have left a piece of themselves out there, and carved out a legacy.
A bunch of years ago my Brothers and I brought our Family movies out there and had a showing in what is now the MX garage. 8mm movies with no sound, but plenty of now historic scenes of EJ’s pride and joy. He loved that place as much as we do.
Godspeed EJ, enjoy your rest. You have earned it!!!