A special burial was held at the Oakland Cemetery Saturday morning.
The ashes of James and Linda Harrison were placed in their burial plot beside James’ parents’ plot, in the area with other Matthews family members. James’ mother was a Matthews, and the Oakland Cemetery includes burial spaces for several Matthews relatives.
Harrison family members were born in various parts of the state because James was a Methodist minister and moved around to various churches.
Actually, Joy, the oldest daughter, was born before James became a minister while he was working as an insurance adjuster.
For example, Jana stayed in Brinkley, where Jim was a pastor.
All three daughters came to the burial, including Jana Carroll of Brinkley, Jamie Tennison of Fayetteville and Joy L. Jeffery of Rogers, my goddaughter. Several granddaughters also attended and some husbands.
It was not the first set of ashes interred. We had one in our family and I was told of others.
So a burial of ashes was not that unusual.
But it was special for me because the Harrisons were so close to me. Jim was my double cousin and my roommate for four years at Tech. I was best man at their wedding.
We played football and were in the band together in high school. We went on an Explorer Scout canoe trip in Canada together. Then we joined the National Guard together when we started to college.
Our military careers divided when I went into advanced ROTC toward a commission and Jim stayed in the National Guard.
We later went to some Atkins and Tech homecomings together, especially, the 50th of both in 1955 and 1959. We went to at least one more at Tech and then no more.
We lost contact until we were notified of Jim and Linda’s illness recently.
Daughter Jana helped me talk to both of them by phone shortly before their deaths.
I had forgotten to take my harmonica on Saturday, so I went by the cemetery Monday morning and played “Amazing Grace” over the graves.