#991 – Dick Bernard: A fine goodbye to Uncle Vince

Related post here.
(click photos to enlarge)

At the Busch farm, probably 1949.  At left is Vincent, then 24.  Four of the Bernard kids on horseback.  Other two are likely cousins Ron and Jim Pinkney.  The man at right is unknown.

At the Busch farm, probably 1949. At left is Vincent, then 24. Four of the Bernard kids on horseback. Other two are likely cousins Ron and Jim Pinkney. The man at right is unknown.


Tuesday, February 10, 2015, showed little promise in Lamoure ND. Overnight a light coating of new snow was being covered by freezing drizzle, and our funeral procession with Uncle Vincent was to go down gravel country roads for near 10 miles for a look at the farm where he lived most of his 90 years, thence down those same roads to Berlin ND, to St. John’s Cemetery.
It didn’t look very promising.
But all went well: a very nice funeral Mass. The funeral procession went off without a hitch; a good farewell at the cemetery; thence back to the Church hall for the traditional lunch.
I thought to myself, what would Vince have to say about this weather. Well, probably he’d say, “we need the moisture”. His life, after all, was farming, and so far this winter it’s been fairly dry out there on the prairie.
Back to town and maybe 25 of us had lunch, followed by reminiscences.
Who was this man, Vincent?
One needs to have been in the room to really catch the sense of the gathering as we remembered Vincent in story after story. I got lucky, and got one photo that, for me at least, sums up the sharing time:
At the post-funeral lunch for Vincent, Feb. 10, 2015

At the post-funeral lunch for Vincent, Feb. 10, 2015


One of us reminded Pat (at right) of a story.
Pat, a neighbor farmer, related that he’d been helping Vince with something one day, and at some point Vincent appeared with a little lunch: a sandwich. Pat accepted the gift readily, and took a large bite.
The inside of the sandwich was sliced raw onions and nothing else.
Vincent was proud of his onions.
A surprised Pat simply ate the sandwich.
The room erupted in laughter.
Edithe and Vince August 1998

Edithe and Vince August 1998


As is true in such settings, one story begat another, and the essence of our relative, friend and neighbor began to flesh itself out.
Vincent was as he was; as we all are, unvarnished representatives of humanity.
There were a number of short eulogies in that hall on Tuesday.
One person, not there, sort of caught Vincent for me in an e-mail received a week earlier: Vincent “represented a generation of strong willed hard working people that collectively built this country….”
I read this to the group, and there were nods of acknowledgement.
Vincent represented every one of us in one way or another.
My sense was that we could have gone on with stories for a much longer period of time, but all good things must end, and we went our separate ways.
One story I wanted to relate was also sent to me some time before the funeral, indeed, before Vincent passed away.
Cousin Jerry related he “had a great memory of visiting the farm and sharing a room with Vincent” when Jerry was perhaps five, and Vincent about 30 years of age.
“[Uncle Vincent’s] night-time prayers on his knees by the bedside really impressed”.
For me, that little phrase sort of sums up how Vince impacted others: Uncle Vince never married, but to all of us cousins (and others, I’m sure), in one way or another, he conveyed little lessons that impacted on each of our lives.
There were 28 of we nephews and nieces who on occasion visited that farm, and we were probably more nuisances than useful, but in their own ways Uncle Vincent, Aunt Edithe and Grandma and Grandpa taught us in one way or another.
Each of us do the same, often not knowing our impact on others.
I’m certain Lamoure County is the better for Vincent Busch having been part of it for 90 years.
As one person said in a condolence note, Vincent is probably now organizing whist games in heaven…and I wouldn’t doubt that a bit! And his sister, Edithe, is right there at the table.
Uncle Vincent, St. John's Cemetery, Berlin ND Feb 10, 2015

Uncle Vincent, St. John’s Cemetery, Berlin ND Feb 10, 2015


Vincent and Edithe, October 25, 2013.

Vincent and Edithe, October 25, 2013.

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