My Dad was such an amazing man. He was, in so many ways, the focal point around which our whole family existed.
Dad had a very dry sense of humor. He liked to try to make people laugh without letting anyone else in on the joke. At the dinner table, he would wink at me or wiggle his nose or other things that only I could see. When I would start laughing, it was almost always at inappropriate times, which made the rest of our family look at me like I was crazy. I didn’t care. It was a private joke between me and Dad. He had a way of doing that, of making everyone feel like they were his favorite (even though I was clearly his favorite favorite, despite my husband trying to replace me. That’s him photobombing the pic of me with my Dad).
Dad loved his family. He loved being a farmer and driving tractors. He loved hunting and fishing. But anyone who knew Bill Beever knew that he also loved Texas A&M University, which was his alma mater. Dad was a proud member of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Class of 1960, WHOOP!
When I went to Texas A&M University (Fightin’ Texas Aggie Class of 1992, WHOOP!), I told people that my Dad used to sing me to sleep with the Spirit of Aggieland. That was a little bit of an exaggeration, but not much. I can still hear Dad’s deep baritone voice belting it out.
“Some may boast of prowess bold, of the school they think so grand. But there’s a Spirit can ne’er be told. It’s the Spirit of Aggieland!”
I think that’s why, in the days, weeks, and months after Dad died, I thought so much about Aggie Muster. Every April 21st, Aggies all over the world gather together wherever they are and read a list of local Aggies who have died since the previous muster. It’s called the rollcall of the absent, and when a name is called, someone answers “here” in their stead.
Softly call the muster,Roll Call For The Absent, Dr. John Ashton, Class of 1906
Let comrade answer, “Here!”
Their spirits hover ‘round us:
As if to bring us cheer!
Mark them “present” in our hearts,
We’ll meet some other day.
There is no Death, but Life Eterne
For heroes such as they!
My Mom and Dad attended the Frio County Aggie Muster every year when I was growing up. It was important to my Dad, and I just knew that there could be no better way to honor him than to have his name be among those called at the Aggie Muster held on campus this year. And so, I contacted the Aggie Muster committee on campus and learned that he met the requirements since he had grandchildren who were current students (one of which is my own son, who is a member of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Class of 2019, WHOOP!).
My sister agreed to come with me and she was the one who lit the candle for Dad. The picture someone got of her really spoke volumes in my opinion. She was wearing a mask, per campus requirements, and it’s so dark, you can barely see her. The only light is the light from the candle she is lighting. And as she lit it, they read Dad’s name and I was barely able to say “here” I was so moved. I cried with my sister for a while after the ceremony as we sat in the dark and waited on the Ross Volunteers to give their 21 gun salute.
It was a beautiful moment, and I wanted to capture it for everybody. So I created a 12X12 scrapbook page, which I then had made into an acrylic wall hanging at Forever. Unfortunately, the picture was just too dark and grainy and the first version returned pixelated. I contacted the people at Forever who, as usual, gave me wonderful support. They had some suggestions to try, but ultimately said I would need a higher quality picture. They offered to reprint it for free and I set to work trying to find a different picture to put in place of my sister. Nothing worked like the original, so I decided to start over completely. This time, I asked my Mom to help design it since it was ultimately going to be a gift for her. She was excited to be a part of the process and in the end, I think the result was better than the original.