The Graveside Service started again this year promptly at 1PM
with the Vermont hillside becoming a veritable sea of faces.
Children laughed and ran around the edge of the crowd. A couple
of tour busses joining the line of cars that stretched as long
as the eye could see along Route 7A.
I wondered what passers-by must think as they drove by this
strangely assorted crowd. Younger people in the spring
time of their lives, older members and the ever present line of
Harleys parked near the gate. Our Book calls us "people who
would normally not mix". Here was a living example of this.
All of us brought together, having survived the lash of
paying tribute to a man touched by the hand of God. A man who's
actions started in motion a movement that continues to this day
to save lives and families.
The faces at the service were amazing in their diversity of
emotion. There was much laughter. There were also
many tears. Tears, I suspect of gratitude. Keeping the
tradition of years past, there were a couple of readings,
followed the sharing of several members. The service
concluded with the reading of the 11th Step Prayer and closed in
traditional AA style with the circle of almost 500 people
encompassing the entire Vermont hillside.
The Bill W. Day celebration continued with the Open Speaker
meeting on the lawn the separates the Wilson House from the
Griffith house. This years speaker, Ralph P., a member of AA for
over half a century, spoke for nearly an hour. Tales of
the early challenges faced by AA as well as his experiences
working with Bill at the Alcoholic Foundation office filled the
air. The portrayal of the Bill he knew was that of a man
driven to help make AA what it is today, a man of wisdom and
foresight, yet very much a human with flaws and imperfections.
How exciting, I thought, it must have been to live through so
much AA history.
The three hour trip home Sunday afternoon gave me some time
to reflect about the day. With gratitude, I thanked God
that AA was there to help this drunk. I also found myself
thinking about how grateful I was that AA was well established
when God led me through the doors of the halls to a life I never
could have imagined.
Dr. Bob said, in part, that he helped drunks "because in so
doing I am paying my debt to the man who took time to pass it on
I only hope I can do the same...