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Michael A. Shelley’s Ratte on a Sticke Octoberish, 2002 Probably the last one enough time to play the Telemann due to the On September 9 I was in Port Arthur, about large turnout, and I’m glad I was able to do so two hours’ drive east of my home, working a without much trouble. Catherine Langley, a cutover in one of the local refineries. Amanda mutual friend, said that it let her feel ‘more called that afternoon to give me a message connected’ than the spoken eulogies. The act from Laura Bourdo that Catie had been found of playing helped me accept what had dead at a picnic table while out camping. happened, and I hope it did the same for Sorry if that sounds blunt. That’s how it was others. presented to me. There was a light meal in the church gym I don’t remember the however-many stages of afterwards, where I talked briefly with family grief as defined by Kubler-Ross, but I members and friends that Catie and I had in remember that they start with denial. I common through recorder playing. (Our immediately disbelieved what I had heard, but esteemed CM was there also, as I’m sure you that quickly passed as Amanda told me what all know by now.) she knew. My next reaction was to ask what Amanda had volunteered to provide food for was to become of Kelson, and to offer our help the family that evening, so we went over to the in whatever way we could. (He’s being looked house and talked a bit more with the family after by a large network of family friends and (mostly Catie’s sister Amy, her brother Bob, church members.) and her parents) and some friends. Amy It was impossible for me to leave for home seemed especially interested in how people until the following Friday, but fortunately I came to meet Catie and David, so I told her didn’t have to actually do very much work what I could remember, and Amanda filled in during this time. Within a couple of days, I’d details and added some recollections of her agreed to play recorder at the memorial service own. the following Saturday. Catie’s mother Here’s what I remember of what I told her. I specifically requested the traditional Shaker started going to meetings of the Houston hymn ‘Simple Gifts,’ which I don’t have Historical Instrument Society (HHIS, now music for, but I figured I could work it out. pretty much defunct) in about 1993. I’d started Amanda found a couple of arrangements playing recorder about eight years previously, online that helped me out, as I had no time to but hadn’t found anyone else who played in practice or look for music. the area aside from a few people in the SCA. Whenever Catie was asked to play something (Amanda and I were getting less involved in off-the-cuff, or at her mother’s church, she the SCA at that time. We wanted some more always played ‘Simple Gifts.’ After I returned normal friends, although I can’t imagine why.) home, I picked out an aria from a Telemann At one of the first meetings I attended, I partita that I would play as a eulogy of my mentioned that I was looking for a group to own, if given the opportunity. play with informally. Catie mentioned that The service was on Saturday afternoon in Holy they could use another player – the group she Cross Lutheran Church, where I’d previously was playing with consisted of Clara Estes, Sue played recorder on several occasions. (The Allen, and John Whitman, in addition to most recent was this past St. Valentine’s Day.) herself. I’d have to drive upwards of 30 People closer to Catie than I was spoke for a minutes to get to anyone else’s house, but that few minutes each, and I snuck up to the choir was okay with me. loft to play my bit during communion. Bruce About a year or so later, I carpooled to the Brogdon, who was near the altar, and I Texas Toot with Catie. Later I found out that alternated playing short pieces. There was Amanda was extremely jealous, as we’d only been married about two years at the time, and Amanda hadn’t yet met Catie. Soon after the Toot, we all got together for some reason and Amanda eventually got over her jealousy after meeting David and Kelson. By 1995 or so, we were getting together a few times a year to play Magic:The Gathering (otherwise known as crack for gamers, as it was the first really successful collectible card game), or go out to dinner, or see a movie, or a concert, or no reason at all. We never got to be as close to Catie and David as we would have liked, as they lived a fair distance away from us, and we both had fairly busy schedules. But we kept in touch, and would just call each other just to see what was going on. We were at Catie’s house for a party two weeks prior to her death. We ate, talked, met people who’se names I’ve forgotten, played boardgames, and even got in some recorder playing. We sounded lousy, but it didn’t matter because we were enjoying ourselves. She was excited about transferring to Houston Baptist University from the University of Houston, which was trying to make her into an opera singer. She had recently started lute lessons with Bruce Brogdon, and was looking forward to continuing. If I’d known what was going to happen, would I have done anything differently? Probably not. Maybe given her a hug when we left that night.
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