Saying Goodbye to a Great Man - Kimberley Linkletter


Saying Goodbye to a Great Man

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I have always found hearing the horn of a train in the distance to be a lonely sound, particularly on a rainy and foggy day. This feeling was the same as I heard Engine 4141 draw ever nearer to the spot my husband and I had staked out across from the tracks on Wellborn Road in College Station with our grandson. We had arrived quite early to ensure ourselves a good view of this historic occasion but by the time we heard the horn blow for the first time, quite a crowd had gathered around us.

As the sound of Engine 4141 drew nearer, there was an increase in chatter amongst the folks lining the street and tracks. Some were wrapped in American flags, others waved small ones in the air, and I even saw a Reagan/Bush campaign sweatshirt in the crowd. Yes, as the train carrying George H.W. Bush to his final resting place drew closer, the sound of its horn became less lonely, mixing in as it was with the sound of the people who had braved the cool and rainy day to pay their final respects.

This was an event that relatively few people would experience in person. Considering the last Presidential Funeral Train had carried Dwight D. Eisenhower to his final rest in Abilene, Kansas almost 50 years ago, it was likely a once in a lifetime event.

This is one of the treasures of homeschool and travel. We were able to adjust our plans to ensure our grandson was able to witness this piece of history. Of course, many homeschoolers chose to study the life of President Bush last week but we were able to bring the event to life for our 11-year-old due to happenstance (and a transmission that needed repair and kept us in the area for an extra week).

Listening to the state funeral on our car radio, EJ heard the words of many speak to the life and integrity of the 41st President of the United States, a great neighbor to our home country of Canada. He also heard our former Prime Minister, the Honorable Brian Mulroney, speak about George Bush both as president and as his friend. Watching his funeral in Houston on TV, he learned more about the great man’s life. (He was happy to see Reba McEntire singing The Lord’s Prayer, he just loves her gospel songs.)

As we spent the days learning more about the former president, I found EJ was eager and excited to learn not only about the man himself but also the events in history that surrounded his life. Hearing about his being shot down during WWII he asked his papa to help him find out about the airplanes and battles of that time (an added bonus to this kind of learning).

We are thankful to have the opportunity to share historic events like this one with our grandson. It is definitely one of my favorite parts of homeschooling.


Kimberley Linkletter – After a 20-plus year career in politics and government, my life took a turn and I became a homeschooling gramma to our energetic and adventurous grandson EJ. There is nothing we like better than loading up our car and hitting the road to see what we can see. As my girls have always said, “Mom says everywhere is on the way to somewhere,” so we love to take detours along our route. You find some of the best places that way!

We keep busy reviewing homeschool products, visiting small town (and not so small town) diners and cafes, museums, National Parks, hotels, and campgrounds.

EJ and I (Miss Kimmy to my friends) love to share our adventures with you here on Vintage Blue Suitcase.

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"Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6).