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  Texas : Feature : Columns : 'The View from Under the Bus'

In Remembrance of
Gregory James Krauter

Memories from The Barber Shop
By Gael Montana

When friends and neighbors pass it's natural to reflect on their lives and think of all the good times, the silly moments you shared with them. It's harder to do when the 'good times' were few and far between toward the end and there was a darkness lurking that no one could lighten.

Could it be that life is one long slipstream of dreams where we dart in and out like minnows? Feeding in the shallows when the sun lures our prey to the surface; going deep while the storms blow by? Sadness has always caused a stretch in reality for some of us. It makes that bitter pill go down a little easier when it's time to take our medicine. When things go dark all around us it's possible to lose our way and in my humble opinion it happens all the time. Often we're so busy in our own little circles of activity that we don't notice the lights going dim in another. Some of the best of us have chosen to depart by the road less traveled, so hard to understand for those of us who live in safely defined painted-on worlds in our tidy systems of belief.

The world is being torn asunder by madness, everyone appears to be at odds with someone, somewhere but surely our only hope is to live in the grace of forgiveness and offer understanding wherever we can. It seems to me that none of us really 'know' much of anything on our own but when we get together and heave the stones out of our path we move along much better.

Recently a dear friend took an abrupt turn from his particular path. He carried volumes of local history with him and broke countless hearts in the bargain. It just doesn't make sense to us now, and may never, but it was a decision that can be made only once. Until we experience the pain he suffered it just doesn't do to speculate.

He was a fifth generation direct descendant of the pioneers who settled Comfort, Texas. Gregory and his father, Jimmy, owned and operated the Ingenhuett General Store and Fancy Grocery, which was in constant operation, from the 1860's until May of 2006 when it succumbed to a devastating fire (See 'Hot Time in the Old Town). He was an honest to goodness Freethinker and believed we should honor the freedoms hard won by his (and our) ancestors and he held his ground on that score against some pretty tiresome and petty pressure. With his substantial and well-rounded education he loved history above all things. Everyone kept him plenty busy answering endless questions about anything & everything to do with the community, in particular, and Texas History in general, for that matter. He was a cheerful source of information and could rattle off dates, times and names like no other. It's hard to believe he has gone.

We will remember him fondly and think often of his gentle presence when the Law West of the Guadalupe domino game is rocking along or when the sunset is particularly beautiful. He can't have known how many friends he had but he wasn't one who 'collected' people, his kindness drew us to him like moths to a flame.

Goodbye Gregory and rest well, you have marked the end of an era.


Copyright Gael Montana
'The View from Under the Bus'
October 17 , 2007 Column

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