On Wednesday, Colleen, Heather, and I headed down to Whitewater, WI to attend the memorial service for our good friend Charlie Moyes, who left us just a couple of days after the Whooping Crane Festival. Charlie was there at the Festival with his beloved wife Ella, Beatle’s fan from way back.
I doubt he would have missed that weekend for the world! Charlie would step out of his room at the Acorn Ridge Motel, and, with a huge smile, say “THIS is FAMILY”!
And it really is! Craniacs are a close-knit group of people dedicated to safeguarding Whooping Cranes, but we’re much, much more than that. We are family… For some reason this common interest has caused us to form a bond that’s hard to imagine between people who are spread all over North America, and even in Australia, Norway, Great Britain, The Netherlands, and probably places I’m forgetting. We care so much for one another despite sometimes knowing one another for only a short time. It doesn’t take long to become one of the family called Craniacs!
And so, as many Craniacs as could make it (21 in total, I think) showed up in Whitewater, WI to celebrate the life of Charlie and support Ella and the rest of their “real” family. Long-distance honors go to Claire and Terry Deland who drove up from Georgia. “Pastor Terry” officiated the service and Claire played the beautiful accompaniment on the piano. Everyone I spoke to afterwards agreed that it was one of, if not THE, most beautiful and touching service they had ever attended.
Charlie (and apparently his whole family) loved trains and Terry dubbed them “Trainiacs.” In fact, another “Craniac-Trainiac couple” we know and love, Sheba and Huw, made a special stop on their way home to Canada from Crane Festival to visit the Illinois Railway Museum. Sheba posted a photo of Huw in front of the sign with the caption “this one is for Charlie, thanks buddy we had a great afternoon.”
It really amazes me that I can feel so close to a bunch of nuts, OOPS, people who I’ve known for less than 4 years, but that’s the truth. It not JUST about Whooping Cranes anymore – it’s more than that – it’s about family!