Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Bill Eatmon and I became friends in the summer of 1995. We had a few things in common, namely the love of landscaping (gardens)...especially water gardens, and the love of animals. In June of 1996 Bill moved to my mother's farm in rural Allegan County, Michigan.
Bill was born in rural Idaho, and loved his grandparents' farm. He had always wanted to live in a rural setting. I had been raised on my parents' farm which had been in the family for over 100 years.
After spending most of his mature years living in large cities, Bill moved to our farm and immediately set himself to cleaning out the barns which had accumulated items for many years -- since the death of my father in September, 1988.
After making some room in the barns, Bill thought it would be neat to have horses. We located a local Arabian horse breeder and purchased 2. That was the start of an incredible journey watching Bill enjoy raising farm animals. I had raised many types of animals as a kid and into my high school years, but after attending college, we had finally sold the last 2 horses from my childhood.
After Bill and I bought the 2 Arabians....I had been surfing the internet using the term "miniature animals". Somehow, I came across Max and Mary White's advertisement advertising "miniature sheep". (They raised Babydolls and Shetland Sheep). I told Bill about it and it was the next weekend when we scheduled a visit to Max and Mary's farm. My intention was originally Babydolls....however, upon arriving at Max and Mary's farm, it quickly became apparent that Shetland sheep were exactly what I was craving. I had always wanted a black sheep as a child....and none could be found at that time. Bill agreed it would be cool to have sheep. While we were at Max and Mary's, Bill saw their Nigerian Dwarf goats and their Nigerian/Pygmy crossed goats. So, our first purchase was a black Shetland ewe named Lilly (pregnant) and a pair of Nigerian/Pygmy goats. Max and Mary were going to deliver them to our farm the next day. As we were getting ready to leave Max and Mary's farm, Max and Mary told us about an animal auction going on in Ravenna, Michigan which was not far from their farm. We took the bait and looked it up. Bill was like a kid in a candy shop. He immediately started putting his hand up and bidding on animals. I tried to stop him without any luck. His first purchase at that auction was 3 black/white dutch dwarf rabbits. I started to wander around looking at the aniamls for sale (they were penned in cages and pens).....and next thing I knew Bill had disappeared. I quickly located him and found him bidding on a bunch of old hens that could not have been worth anything but for stewing. I tried unsuccessfully to stop his bidding frenzy....but he was determined to buy "laying hens". (LOL). He came away with about 4 very old looking worn down hens at $1 each. :-)
I finally talked him into not bidding on anything else as we had not brought a vehicle for transporting animals. I asked Bill what he planned on putting the hens and rabbits in that he had purchased. His reply was that we would just put the cages they were in...INTO the car. LOL. I explained to him that the chickens and rabbits did NOT come WITH the cages. We had to use burlap bags and put them in the trunk of my car!
When we got home, Bill went right to building a small area in the barn to keep the chickens in. I told him they were WORTHLESS stewing hens but that didn't stop him. Much to my surprise, the next day there were egss in thir pen and that served only to make Bill want more chickens. He pointed out daily how that the 4 hens he bought were keeping us in eggs. He never let me forget that.
The 4 hens only served to "whet" Bill's appetite for raising eggs. So, when spring came we made a trip to the local hatchery and came back with about 30 or 40 chickens. (several breeds). From chickens, we branched out into pheasants and peacocks. Dwarf loppy eared rabbits were next....then angora rabbits: french, English, and German.
Bill really enjoyed horses. He decided we should show and breed Arabian horses. After building our stock to 11 we were quickly finding out that raising horses for show and breeding was EXPENSIVE. I had decided that dabbling in Arabian horses was something that only someone with a very "thick" bankroll should attempt. Horses are real "hay burners". After a few years of this we decided to abandon our attempt at becoming horse breeders and concentrated on Nigerian Dwarf Goats and Shetland sheep.
Shetland sheep became my particular focus....I enjoyed the goats, but found them not as appealing as the sheep. As time passed, Bill's health was not as good as it was when we acquired the goats so he asked me to sell the goats. We decided to concentrate all our effort on Shetland sheep.
Bill became particularly good at lambing. He was incredible. I worked 3rd shift. He would set up cables to the barn and monitor the lambing situation on his tv in his room. When ewes went into labor he would go to the barn and gather up the lambs/mother and jug them for me. Bill also became a "pro" at helping ewes in "trouble" with their lambing. If a lamb was mispositioned....he could almost always get it out.
There was almost nothing Bill could do when he put his mind to it. I will miss my friend and companion. Every time I walk to the barn I see Bill in every jug, fence, or cattle panel.
In Bill's last year of life, he told me he found God. He had not been someone who believed in an "afterlife" but during his last year of life, he came to believe there was an afterlife and went through quite a transformation in terms of outlook for eternity. He went from saying he wanted to be cremated to asking for burial at the time of his death. My mother was very instrumental in Bill's conversion in thought.
About a year ago, Bill phoned me from his hospital room during one of his many bouts with liver problems. I'll never forget the excitement in his voice ....he had left a message on the answering machine as I was outside doing chores. He told me that "something had happened" and that I needed to call him back as soon as possible. I did when I found the message and he told me that he had had an experience and now believed in Jesus as his Saviour. I wish I could have been in his room at the hospital to see this "transformation". I know it must have been profound as Bill came home and proceeded to learn all that he could about Christianity. (something he really had no appreciation for before then).
I now have the hope of seeing my wonderful friend and companion in the future when I too enter the "larger" life.
Bill I miss you so much----life without you will never be the same.
The following poem was written by Bill's son, James Eatmon, and read at his funeral. I thought it was really good.
A Poem From His Children
Dad, So many things come to mind, whenever I speak your name.
It seems without you in my life, things will never be the same.
Dad, If I could turn back time and you could once more hear my voice.
I'd tell you that out of all the other dad's you'd still be my choice.
Dad, Please always know that I love you and nobody can take your place. Years will come and go but your memory will never erase.
Dad, Your life has been full and rich with love; friends have been many warm and kind. Enriched by the example you have left behind.
Dad, Go with joy to a better place and a new beginning.
Dad, Go in peace and know that you've made a difference along the way. Dad, Go in comfort, for all you've been will always stay.
The following Poem is the poem Scott Eatmon, Bill's son, chose to be put inside his memorial folder for the funeral; I thought it too was a great choice:
Robert Frost: The Road Not Taken (1915)
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
I AM the resurrection and the life, saith the Lord: he that
believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
and whosoever liveth and believeth in me, shall never die.
I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand
at the latter day upon the earth: and though this body be
destroyed, yet shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself,
and mine eyes shall behold, and not as a stranger.
We brought nothing into this world, and it is certain
we can carry nothing out. The Lord gave, and the Lord
hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.
LORD, let me know mine end, and the number of my
days; * that I may be certified how long I have to live.
Behold, thou hast made my days as it were a span long,
and mine age is even as nothing in respect of thee; * and
verily every man living is altogether vanity.
For man walketh in a vain shadow, and disquieteth himself
in vain; * he heapeth up riches, and cannot tell who shall
And now, Lord, what is my hope? * truly my hope is
even in thee.
Deliver me from all mine offences; * and make me not
a rebuke unto the foolish.
When thou with rebukes dost chasten man for sin, thou
makest his beauty to consume away, like as it were a moth
fretting a garment: * every man therefore is but vanity.
Hear my prayer, O Lord, and with thine ears consider
my calling; * hold not thy peace at my tears;
For I am a stranger with thee, and a sojourner, * as all
my fathers were.
O spare me a little, that I may recover my strength, *
before I go hence, and be no more seen.
Domine, refugi um. Psalm xc.
LORD, thou hast been our refuge, * from one generation
Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever the
earth and the world were made, * thou art God from everlasting,
and world without end.
Thou turnest man to destruction; * again thou sayest,
Come again, ye children of men.
For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday,
when it is past, * and as a watch in the night.
As soon as thou scatterest them they are even as a
sleep; * and fade away suddenly like the grass.
In the morning it is green, and groweth up; * but in the
evening it is cut down, dried up, and withered.
For we consume away in thy displeasure, * and are afraid
at thy wrathful indignation.
Thou hast set our misdeeds before thee; * and our secret
sins in the light of thy countenance.
For when thou art angry all our days are gone: * we
bring our years to an end, as it were a tale that is told.
The days of our age are threescore years and ten; and
though men be so strong that they come to fourscore
years, * yet is their strength then but labour and sorrow; so
soon passeth it away, and we are gone.
So teach us to number our days, * that we may apply our
hearts unto wisdom.
Dominus illuininatio. Psalm xxvii.
THE LORD is my light and my salvation; whom then
shall I fear? * the LORD is the strength of my life; of
whom then shall I be afraid?
One thing have I desired of the Lord, which I will require;
* even that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all
the days of my life, to behold the fair beauty of the Lord,
and to visit his temple.
For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his tabernacle;
* yea, in the secret place of his dwelling shall he
hide me, and set me up upon a rock of stone.
And now shall he lift up mine head * above mine enemies
round about me.
Therefore will I offer in his dwelling an oblation, with
great gladness: * I will sing and speak praises unto the
Hearken unto my voice, O Lord, when I cry unto thee; *
have mercy upon me, and hear me.
My heart hath talked of thee, Seek ye my face: * Thy
face, Lord, will I seek.
O hide not thou thy face from me, * nor cast thy servant
away in displeasure.
Thou hast been my succour; * leave me not, neither
forsake me, O God of my salvation.
I should utterly have fainted, * but that I believe verily
to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
O tarry thou the Lord’s leisure; * be strong, and he shall
comfort thine heart; and put thou thy trust in the Lord.
Deus noster refug ium. Psalm xlvi.
GOD is our hope and strength, * a very present help in
Therefore will we not fear, though the earth be moved, *
and though the hills be carried into the midst of the sea;
Though the waters thereof rage and swell, * and though
the mountains shake at the tempest of the same.
There is a river, the streams whereof make glad the city
of God; * the holy place of the tabernacle of the Most
God is in the midst of her, therefore shall she not be
removed; * God shall help her, and that right early.
Be still then, and know that I am God: * I will be exalted
among the nations, and I will be exalted in the earth.
The Lord of hosts is with us; * the God of Jacob is our
Levavi oculos . Psalm cxxi.
I WILL lift up mine eyes unto the hills; * from whence
cometh my help?
My help cometh even from the Lord, * who hath made
heaven and earth.
He will not suffer thy foot to be moved; * and he that
keepeth thee will not sleep.
Behold, he that keepeth Israel * shall neither slumber
The Lord himself is thy keeper; * the Lord is thy defence
upon thy right hand;
So that the sun shall not burn thee by day, * neither the
moon by night.
The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil; * yea, it is
even he that shall keep thy soul.
The Lord shall preserve thy going out, and thy coming
in, * from this time forth for evermore.
De profundis. Psalm cxxx.
OUT of the deep have I called unto thee, O LORD; *
Lord, hear my voice.
O let thine ears consider well * the voice of my complaint.
If thou, Lord, wilt be extreme to mark what is done
amiss, * O Lord, who may abide it?
For there is mercy with thee; * therefore shalt thou be
I look for the Lord; my soul doth wait for him; * in his
word is my trust.
My soul fleeth unto the Lord before the morning
watch; * I say, before the morning watch.
O Israel, trust in the LORD, for with the LORD there is
mercy, * and with him is plenteous redemption.
And he shall redeem Israel * from all his sins.
1 Corinthians xv. 20.
NOW is Christ risen from the dead, and become the
firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came
death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For
as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits;
afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. Then cometh
the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom
to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all
rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till
he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy
that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things
under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under
him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all
things under him. And when all things shall be subdued
unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto
him that put all things under him, that God may be all in
all. But some man will say, How are the dead raised up?
and with what body do they come? Thou foolish one, that
which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: and that
which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall
be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other
grain: but God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and
to every seed its own body. All flesh is not the same flesh:
but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of
beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. There are
also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory
of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.
There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of
the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth
from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection
of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in
incorruption: it is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory:
it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: it is sown a
natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural
body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, The
first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was
made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which
is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that
which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the
second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such
are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are
they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the
image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the
Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit
the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit
incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not
all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the
twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall
sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we
shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption,
and this mortal must put on immortality. So when
this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this
mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be
brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed
up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave,
where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the
strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which
giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore,
my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always
abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye
know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
Romans viii. 14.
AS many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the
sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of
bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of
adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit himself
beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of
God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and jointheirs
with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we
may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings
of this present time are not worthy to be compared
with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the
earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation
of the sons of God. We know that all things work
together for good to them that love God, to them who
are the called according to his purpose. What shall we
then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be
against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered
him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely
give us all things? Who is he that condemneth? It is
Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even
at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for
us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall
tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness,
or peril, or sword? Nay, in all these things we are
more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I
am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor
principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to
come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall
be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in
Christ Jesus our Lord.
St. John xiv. 1.
JESUS said, Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe
in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are
many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you.
I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a
place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself;
that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I
go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him,
Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we
know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the
truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but
The Lord be with you.
And with thy spirit.
Let us pray.
REMEMBER thy servant, O Lord, according to the favour
which thou bearest unto thy people, and grant
that, increasing in knowledge and love of thee, he may go
from strength to strength, in the life of perfect service, in
thy heavenly kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who
liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost ever,
one God, world without end. Amen.
UNTO God’s gracious mercy and protection we commit
you. The LORD bless you and keep you. The LORD
make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious unto you.
The LORD lift up his countenance upon you, and give you
peace, both now and evermore. Amen.
MAN, that is born of a woman, hath but a short time
to live, and is full of misery. He cometh up, and is
cut down, like a flower; he fleeth as it were a shadow, and
never continueth in one stay.
In the midst of life we are in death; of whom may we
seek for succour, but of thee, O Lord, who for our sins art
Yet, O Lord God most holy, O Lord most mighty, O
holy and most merciful Saviour, deliver us not into the
bitter pains of eternal death.
Thou knowest, Lord, the secrets of our hearts; shut not
thy merciful ears to our prayer; but spare us, Lord most
holy, O God most mighty, O holy and merciful Saviour,
thou most worthy Judge eternal, suffer us not, at our last
hour, for any pains of death, to fall from thee.
ALL that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and
him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
He that raised up Jesus from the dead will also quicken
our mortal bodies, by his Spirit that dwelleth in us.
Wherefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my
flesh also shall rest in hope.
Thou shalt show me the path of life; in thy presence is
the fulness of joy, and at thy right hand there is pleasure
UNTO Almighty God we commend the soul of our
brother departed, and we commit his body to the
ground; earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust; in sure
and certain hope of the Resurrection unto eternal life,
through our Lord Jesus Christ; at whose coming in glorious
majesty to judge the world, the earth and the sea shall give
up their dead; and the corruptible bodies of those who
sleep in him shall be changed, and made like unto his own
glorious body; according to the mighty working whereby
he is able to subdue all things unto himself.
I HEARD a voice from heaven, saying unto me, Write,
From henceforth blessed are the dead who die in the
Lord: even so saith the Spirit; for they rest from their
The Lord be with you.
And with thy spirit.
Let us pray.
Lord, have mercy upon us.
Christ, have mercy upon us.
Lord, have mercy upon us.
OUR Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it
is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive
us our trespasses, As we forgive those who trespass against
us. And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from
O GOD, whose mercies cannot be numbered; Accept
our prayers on behalf of the soul of thy servant departed,
and grant him an entrance into the land of light
and joy, in the fellowship of thy saints; through Jesus
Christ our Lord. Amen.
ALMIGHTY God, with whom do live the spirits of
those who depart hence in the Lord, and with whom
the souls of the faithful, after they are delivered from the
burden of the flesh, are in joy and felicity; We give thee
hearty thanks for the good examples of all those thy servants,
who, having finished their course in faith, do now
rest from their labours. And we beseech thee, that we,
with all those who are departed in the true faith of thy
holy Name, may have our perfect consummation and bliss,
both in body and soul, in thy eternal and everlasting glory;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
O MERCIFUL God, the Father of our Lord Jesus
Christ, who is the Resurrection and the Life; in
whom whosoever believeth, shall live, though he die; and
whosoever liveth, and believeth in him, shall not die eternally;
who also hath taught us, by his holy Apostle Saint
Paul, not to be sorry, as men without hope, for those who
sleep in him; We humbly beseech thee, O Father, to raise
us from the death of sin unto the life of righteousness;
that, when we shall depart this life, we may rest in him;
and that, at the general Resurrection in the last day, we
may be found acceptable in thy sight; and receive that
blessing, which thy well-beloved Son shall then pronounce
to all who love and fear thee, saying, Come, ye blessed
children of my Father, receive the kingdom prepared for
you from the beginning of the world. Grant this, we beseech
thee, O merciful Father, through Jesus Christ, our
Mediator and Redeemer. Amen.
THE God of peace, who brought again from the dead
our Lord Jesus Christ, the great Shepherd of the
sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant; Make
you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in
you that which is well pleasing in his sight; through Jesus
Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
O ALMIGHTY God, the God of the spirits of all flesh,
who by a voice from heaven didst proclaim, Blessed
are the dead who die in the Lord; Multiply, we beseech
thee, to those who rest in Jesus, the manifold blessings of
thy love, that the good work which thou didst begin in
them may be perfected unto the day of Jesus Christ. And
of thy mercy, O heavenly Father, vouchsafe that we, who
now serve thee here on earth, may at last, together with
them, be found meet to be partakers of the inheritance of
the saints in light; for the sake of the same thy Son Jesus
Christ our Lord. Amen.
MOST merciful Father, who hast been pleased to take
unto thyself the soul of this thy servant (or this thy
child); Grant to us who are still in our pilgrimage, and who
walk as yet by faith, that having served thee with constancy
on earth, we may be joined hereafter with thy blessed saints
in glory everlasting; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
O LORD Jesus Christ, who by thy death didst take away
the sting of death; Grant unto us thy servants so to
follow in faith where thou hast led the way, that we may
at length fall asleep peacefully in thee, and awake up after
thy likeness; through thy mercy, who livest with the Father
and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.
ALMIGHTY and everliving God, we yield unto thee
most high praise and hearty thanks, for the wonderful
grace and virtue declared in all thy saints, who have
been the choice vessels of thy grace, and the lights of the
world in their several generations; most humbly beseeching
thee to give us grace so to follow the example of their
stedfastness in thy faith, and obedience to thy holy command-
ments, that at the day of the general Resurrection,
we, with all those who are of the mystical body of thy
Son, may be set on his right hand, and hear that his most
joyful voice: Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the
kingdom pre-pared for you from the foundation of the
world. Grant this, O Father, for the sake of the same, thy
Son Jesus Christ, our only Mediator and Advocate. Amen.
Rest eternal grant unto him, O Lord: And let light perpetual shine upon him. +