"The wind blew, And the ashes flew,

The lovers were true, Now they're together anew."

(I'm a poet, and don't know it, but my feet show it, they Longfellows)

It was Sue and Michael's way of paying tribute to their parents, Lila and Bob Martin, longtime residents of Imlay. They were special people, so something special had to be done with their ashes. They both loved Imlay, and the surrounding hills and valleys, from Star Peak to Black Rock desert, from Winnemucca to Lovelock, and beyond. Their lifetime travels together took them faraway, from coast to coast, from border to border, many times over. Beyond the borders, even to Alaska. They loved traveling. Even to Texas many times, to see yours truly. But they always returned to Imlay.

So it was fitting for the family to gather on the mountainside a couple thousand feet elevation above Imlay to spread their ashes. A ceremony was conducted up there, the wind was blowing, and their remains went flying like wildfire. Here is some reminiscing about them and the territory that can be seen from that vantage point where their remains now rest.

Imlay: They met there on a windy day in 1942. (We were flying kites). They were both teenagers, riding the school bus to high school in Lovelock. I guess the love bug found them quickly; Roger Payne told me "all they wanted to do was kiss." Typical young folks that fall in love.

Imlay, July 16, 1944. A wedding took place that day in Imlay. It was performed in "Granma" Annie Nevada Thacker's front yard. Granma Thacker was a judge, the Pershing County Justice of the Peace. She was born in Unionville in the 1870's, named Annie Nevada Fellows. She married John Thacker in the 1890's, and they eventually moved to Imlay. Imlay at that time was a thriving railroad community, on the other side of the mountain. In their wedding ceremony, Judge Thacker instructed them from The Book, stay together "till death do us part." They did that.

Imlay, 1944. Bob hired out on the Southern Pacific Railroad as a machinist helper. One of his duties was to climb on top of the giant steam engine while it was stopped on the main line for water and fuel. He filled the water tank and fuel tender. The steam engines were new contraptions, they burned oil for fuel, instead of coal or wood, as of old. Train traffic was heavy, besides carrying commodities all over America, there was war materials being shipped to Europe, and troop trains every few hours, carrying the American boys to the killing fields in Europe and the South Pacific.

Then came the day Bob boarded the train in Imlay, to possibly join the fighting overseas. All of Bob's family was there to see him off, as well as friends. Seemed like half of Imlay was there that day. Lila was crying her eyes out, probably thinking like the rest of us, that we would never see him again. So many young boys did not return, and we all expected the worst. But the war ended, and Bob came back to Imlay and his beloved Lila. He went back to work for the S.P. railroad, riding the engine as a Fireman. His job was to control the steam engines steam temperature and pressure. (And he never had to chunk wood or coal into the furnace) Eventually he promoted up to Engineer, and stayed until retirement.

Imlay, May 13, 1945. A car slowly left the Henry Thacker home in Imlay. It headed westward, to the big city of Lovelock, and the Pershing County General hospital. The next day, Bob and Lila became proud parents of the girl named Sue. Sue was not her given name, but its the name she later claimed. (Now Sue Nouque of Imlay) In later years son Michael was born in Reno.

Imlay, July 16, 2010. Lila and Bob's 66th. wedding anniversary. I phoned them. Bob answered the phone. "Happy Anniversary, Bob," I said. "Its not such a happy day. They are loading Lila into the ambulance. Its her heart again." Then their old bodies wore out, and now their ashes are on the mountainside above Imlay, and from there, you can see where they met, married, loved, lived, worked, cried, sang, prayed, attended church, hiked, hunted, swam, fished, canoed, camped, fussed and fought, and stayed together, till death parted them. But folks, they are still together, Up Yonder somewhere, and their ashes are overlooking the town they loved dearly, Imlay Nevada, Pershing County, U.S.A, third rock from the sun.

Roy Bale can be reached via email at roybalemail@yahoo.com.