See you later alligator ...

Floyd Clark and Jim Clark working on Jim’s bike for a 4th of July event.

My dad, Floyd Eldon Clark, really enjoyed being a father.

One of the first things I can remember him saying to me before he went to work, in the mornings, at Mueller Brass Company in Port Huron, Mich. was — “See you later alligator ...” And I’d respond “... after a while crocodile.”

“See You Later, Alligator” was a 1950s rock and roll song written and first recorded by American singer-songwriter Bobby Charles. The song was made popular and became a Top Ten hit for Bill Haley and His Comets in 1956.

I actually think Dad heard it on The Jimmy Durante Show, from that same era. Dad never was much into music.

On Friday, Sept. 17, Dad left us to meet Jesus and His heavenly Father.

On Saturday, I came to the office and typed up the obituary. I carried it home and it was edited by my mom, Ida Clark and my wife, Linda Clark. Of course, they made it sound better.

We planned the funeral for Tuesday, Sept. 21 so everything had to come together fast. My daughter Amy “Clark” Stone, and our grandkids Connor and Suzanne headed to Mississippi Monday. Her husband, our son-in-law Scott and his parents Steve and Patsy Stone followed about two hours behind.

Connor, Scott and Steve would be pallbearers so we had three more to locate which didn’t take long for Mom and Linda to come up with.

Linda worked the phone not only getting them lined up, but the pianist and singer, making sure the time we set was OK with the preacher and finding a couple of guys to do the Eulogy.

Larry Brown, who taught Dad’s Bible class was one of them and Amy volunteered Scott. Scott freaked out a little. He was adapt at the speaking part. He’s an attorney in Florida so used to doing closing arguments and such but assumed preachers and church folks gave the Eulogies. We renamed it in the obit and called it remembrances.

Steven McNeece, of McNeece Morris Funeral Home in Fulton was in charge of keeping us straight. We’ve known him and his dad, Boyce, forever. They handled Linda’s parents, Loyd and Verbal Thomas’ funerals.

So I had Steven’s cell phone and was in regular contact. I passed the number to Linda since she was really in charge. I was merely a gopher, and not always even that great at fetching the right things. Linda facetimed Steven once by accident. It was Steven’s first facetime but both laughed and winged it.

While all the rest of this stuff was going on, everyone was looking for photos of Dad to either display or put on a video production. I searched my computer keying in “Dad” and then “Floyd” and pulling all those shots into a folder to be transfered to a thumb drive. As Linda started going through what I’d supplied she came across one called “Floyd and Elvis.” She asked me about it. I explained my process. I knew Dad had never met Elvis, plus, as stated earlier — didn’t really care much about music.

Turned out it was a picture of Floyd, the barber, from Mayberry and Elvis. It was something I’d run in the paper for some reason. I begged Mom and Linda to leave it in the slideshow as comic relief but was voted down.

Tuesday, it was funeral time.

Steven leaned over to Scott and asked if he’d like to do Eulogy first, or Larry first. Larry went first. Scott did an excellent job. I doubt, however, he’ll ever give an eulogy again.

It’s Wednesday now, as I type this. To be honest, this has been my worse day thus far. I guess reality has set in. I’ll never hear my earthly father’s voice again, get to pat him on the shoulder or shake his hand.

But I do have faith and confidence in the Bible and know we’ll meet again. Maybe he’ll say “I told you I’d see you later alligator” and I’ll get to say, “It’s been a while crocodile.”

I pray you have faith too.

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