It is always sad when a 21 year old leaves us regardless of the circumstances surrounding the death.  Last Friday Derek McNamara of Goodhue was killed in a ATV accident near Goodhue.  I thought I would write a poem summing up my feelings as I attended his visitation Tuesday night at the Goodhue High School gym where there were so many memories.  Young and old waited for hours to pay their respects. The first part of the poem I wrote after learning of his passing and then I think you can tell where the visitation begins.  I entitled the poem "I Will Not Say Goodbye."

Derek McNamara of Goodhue crammed more into his 21 years than many do in a lifetime.  And that's why I struggled to write this rhyme.

I didn't know Derek that well, But the tears are flowing...the bags under my eyes swell.

At 17 he started his own hay baling business. Farming wasn't work to him, it was a way of achieving oneness.

With nature and all it had to offer.  He would often go to the hunting and fishing coffer.

I don't know if the hunt is what he enjoyed so much. I happen to think it was being one with nature he liked a bunch.

Derek was involved in 4-H and FFA. He approached all in a passionate way.

He was also an athlete and thrived on competition. He'd approach the game like he was on a mission.

I don't know why Derek left this life so soon. An ATV accident took him beyond the moon.

He was doing something outdoors of course, his great love. And it really doesn't matter when push comes to shove.

He left us too soon, just really getting started in life. There will be no farmstead or children or best friend wife.

I don't believe God "took" him as they say. I believe God also cried that day.

We must take Derek's life lesson and put it into motion. Don't let another day go by without taking some of his potion.

Approach every day with his zest and fervor. For you never know when we will be here no more.

I thank God for allowing me to be a small part of Derek's days. Calling many of his exciting athletic plays.

I will not say goodbye although his passion I'll miss. I'll see him in a deer stand or while hauling in a fish.

Those are ways I know Derek would embrace. When the sun shines brightly there will be his face.

When a deer looks up with those big brown eyes. Or the multi-shaped clouds take over the skies.

Or I catch a fish and admire it before letting it go. All signs Derek's soul will continue to flow.

Last night scores of mourners filed through the Goodhue High School gym.To pay their respects to Derek's family and him.

I'm guessing there had to be around two thousand people in line. It was a three hour wind around the halls before hitting the hardwood pine.

Another testament to the great fabric of a small town. When your neighbors are hurting you assist, even if it's with a frown.

There was a slide show of pictures from throughout his years. More pictures on boards and many were moved to tears.

The pictures showed him doing things he loved, showing at 4-H, farming and of course playing with that orange round ball. There were photos of some lunker fish and blaze orange in the fall.

Condolences included a tree from the Kenyon-Wanamingo Knight team of his class 2011. I'm sure it will be planted and reach toward heaven.

More flowers nearly than Donahues Greenhouse has in it's store. Were placed just outside the three point line of the gym floor.

Man Derek could sure hit those threes from very deep. Right under the basket was his casket with him in eternal sleep.

Above the hoop was a John Deere item, yes outside of Wildcat purple he was a fan of green and gold. Just under the basked hanging was his number 10 jersey of old.

As I walked through the gym and viewed the photos of his 21 years.  It hit me again, the special moments are simply of happiness and yes some fears.

A sister's wedding day, hanging with friends or posing with a shined up tractor,  Fame and fortune are absolutely no factor.

This life for Derek ended about 12 hours before his nephew was born. His heavenly birthday he shares with his father's earthly one, the day our hearts were torn.

                         He loved the farming way of life