The stories flowed, along with the tears, when J Bird Williams and her friends remembered her late husband, Len Williams, who died 11 months ago. They held a service at Palo Duro Canyon, Len's favorite spot in Texas. The tale of how J and her friends got there is just as amazing as the view. J Williams recounts how her husband asked her to bring him here.
"Honey," J says, "remember when I told you I wanted my ashes spread at Palo Duro Canyon? I said, yeah, I remember. He says, I want you to take me in a wagon."
It was on March 23rd that they left Breckenridge and J Williams was in her own wagon in the middle of a caravan of wagons. "These are all our friends and Len's friends, and they have all taken two weeks off from work to come up here and honor his wish and take him to Palo Duro Canyon," says J.
Escorted by the Stephens County Sheriffs Department and the Breckenridge Police Department and traveling at a pace of just over 20 miles a day, the caravan attracted a lot of attention. J tells us that people were stopping to take pictures. They stayed at ranches along their rout and were helped out along the way. "Two different towns have given us a truck load of hay for our animals. I've had a lady give me a bible, one man handed me a hundred dollar bill, people have opened their restaurants up for us, they were closed and opened just so we could go in and eat," says J.
And only going at about 3 and a half miles an hour they saw parts of Texas that fly by most of us. Len Williams' friend, Sam Gill, who also made the trip on a wagon, talked about what he has seen. "I started to do this for my friends because it was his last request, and he was my friend so you got to honor your friends. As we got to going on this, I thought I'm doing this more for J, for support for her and help. Then, as we were traveling down through here and all the beautiful scenery, he did this for us," said Gill.
And that was clear in Palo Duro Canyon, where Len Williams brought all his friends and family together. The trip took 16 days and 8 months to plan. The service ended with a chuck wagon meal and a horse back stroll through the canyon.