From The Little Way Of Ruthie Leming, this impromptu tribute to Ruthie, who loved to feel the grass between her toes:
The procession to the Starhill cemetery, six miles south of town, was seventy-five cares long. To honor Mike and his family, fire trucks and ambulances sat in the median along the last mile, lights flashing, firefighters and EMTs standing at attention. Some people who lived along the route down Highway 61 stood in their driveways to pay their respects. Evelyn Dedon, the mama of baseball phenom Roy Dale Craven, sat on the hillside near where her little boy was killed all those years ago, waving in salute as another lost child of Starhill passed on by.
As we pulled up behind the hearse in Mam’s SUV, we noticed the six pallbearers standing there in bare feet, the cuffs of their pants rolled high over their ankles. What was this? Inspired by the sight of Claire and Rebekah standing in church barefoot the night before, Mel Percy thought it would be a proper final tribute to Ruthie, who loved being barefoot, to cast aside their dress shoes and carry her to her grave with the wet green grass of Starhill between their toes.
So those good men, the barefoot pallbearers, did, and it was a thing of beauty. Hannah, Claire, and Rebekah, seeing their mother’s friends standing in the road shoeless by her casket, took off their shoes as well. They stepped out of their black Ford SUV and Hannah, taking hold of her sisters’ hands, led them barefoot down the hill and through the grass to the graveside.