I drove over south east of White River today for a funeral service for Jill. I was honored to be asked by her mother to share a song and some words.
I had met her some years back when she called with questions about a mare who wanted to buck and saddle fit. The upshot of that was, she came one day, all the way from Indiana, with horse and saddle in tow, to see if it was her saddle that was causing it or just the horse. (to be totally honest, she was coming to her uncles for a branding, but she still had to drive 200 miles out of her way. We decided that it was just the horse, but she ordered a saddle anyway. I ended up making a bare bones for her and ordering another tree which I covered and when I was done with it, she came and got it, went to a local branding with me, at which she had a blast and we made her rope until she caught one by two feet, and she was just a novice at roping. She left the first one and wanted me to finish it. I never got to as she got a brain tumor and it finally got her after about 2 years of fighting it.
She was originally from down at Wood, SD and that is where her mother had the services today. She died about a year ago, but complications made it unhandy to have the services.
Jill is the second friend I made from saddle making that has died, the other was a wonderful gentleman, Terry Brown, who I talked to at least monthly, if not more often, either on the internet or over the phone. When he was killed in a car wreck, it was devastating, and unlike Jill, I had never actually met him in person. Seemed strange that it effected me so. I can still hear his voice in my head in his soft slow almost drawl, “Hello.. Robert..”
And when I say friend, I mean it, in every sense of the word. Tho’ most might find it strange for a married man to have a married woman for a friend, that is what Jill was. I got her to come and join the Ranch Country board (who had me take this flower arrangement in the picture, from the whole group) where she was a delight to everyone with her grit and stories. Especially the on going feud with the beaver on her property who were screwing up her ponds with their proclivity to try and build a dam there. And her attempts to assassinate them! I say assassinate because it was a vendetta. No, she would not hire it done, she took it as a personal issue to be dealt with by herself!
Like Terry (the other friend who was killed) we talked often, either on the net or on the phone. I always teased her that her husband would think she was having an affair, but she just laughed and it would be hard to have an affair with someone who you only saw twice in your life in person and then in the company of others.
She will be missed and is missed greatly and held in high regard by her friends and probably her enemies sleep better at night knowing she is not there to get them. Like I said, she had grit!
Rest in Peace Jill. I hope you got a good horse like this one to ride in Heaven. But knowing you, God probably has you topping off the rough string….