SYLVIA –Green tufts of sprouting wheat bordered the rural road leading to Sylvia Cemetery Tuesday morning.
That would have pleased Clint Peacock, to know his winter wheat had a good stand.
So would the image of his granddaughter, Marcella Smiley, driving the bright green wagon, pulled by two of his mules, with 2-year-old great-grandson Cash by his mother’s side, carrying their loved one’s casket to the grave.
Peacock, 83, died Oct. 2, from complications of a chronic heart condition. Those who knew and loved the Reno County farmer and rancher said farewell just the way he would have wanted it done.
“It was pretty hard for me,” Smiley said of driving the wagon with the casket. “This was grandpa’s last trip.”
Over a lifetime there had been so many wagon trips for Peacock. He spent all his life farming ground in Reno and Rice County, often with a team of mules.
Even in recent years he would rake hay with the mules, disk up plenty of earth and haul tons of manure.
As late as 1961 he was still hauling grain to the elevator with a team of mules.
Plus, there were trail rides and parades where he often drove the green wagon with Smiley by his side.
While he still used the ancient mode of transportation, he was also a one-time member of the Kansas Flying Farmers.
“He would fly to Clovis, N.M. in a tiny airplane to buy cattle, which would later be unloaded at the Sylvia train depot,” recalled his daughter Gayla Moeckel, Plevna.
Along with Cash, Smiley and Moeckel, a son, Howard Laurant Peacock, Burrton, survives him.
“He is truly one of the last of the true cowboys in every sense of the word,” said Steve Gill, a lifetime friend and the pastor who presided at the burial.
“Clint was a unique kind of man,” Gill said “The only thing he knew was to work hard with his hands and the mules and horses.”
Sylvia won’t be the same with Peacock gone, Gill said. He described a moment when Peacock was barreling down Main Street in Sylvia on a little Ford tractor pulling a mower.
“He jammed on the right break and zipped over the curb, and said ‘Gilley I want you to do me a favor. One of these days when I’m gone I want you to say a few words over me.’”
Gill asked what words Peacock wanted him to say?
Peacock flipped the tractor around and headed down the street calling back to Gill that he would think of something.
Though the end was close, Peacock tried to keep going. Two days before his death he wanted to go to the field.
“He would be thrilled that as his casket was going to the grave his wheat was up and beautiful,” Moeckel said.
Though it was Peacock’s wish to be pulled in a wagon to the grave, it was Smiley’s decision to use Peacock’s wagon, rather than Elliott’s horse-drawn hearse. The mules weren’t familiar with the hearse. They were broken on the green wagon.
“I think it was pretty apropos Clint Peacock,” Smiley said. “He would have wanted his wagon.”
But for his granddaughter, “The worse deal was to hook those mules and take Grandpa on his last ride.”