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III: EPILOGUE


Dave McKinney’s eulogy introduced an audio recording of Mack reading her essay, ‘This I Believe’ (which is printed out in the `Politics’ chapter).


Thank you all for coming today on what is a terribly difficult day for us all, a day that


one week ago was unimaginable. But what a terrific idea to have this memorial service here where Mackenzie displayed some of the best, most fluid basketball moves I’ve ever seen on a high school floor and that brought me out of my seat many times. Kevin and Stacy have been lifelong friends to me. I’ve known them since we all attended


Eastern Illinois University together. He’s my brother. She’s my sister. As for Savannah, I’ve known her since she was born, and she is like a daughter. She was a beautiful baby and couldn’t have been more than a few weeks old, living in a tiny house in Pana, when I first met her. I remember changing her diaper and marveling how it didn’t seem all that complicated. In fact, I joked to Kevin, how hard could this parenting thing really be? Little did I know! Not long after came Mackenzie. As a baby, she had a lot of her mom’s features,


particularly those big, beautiful, brown eyes. Perhaps my earliest and most cherished memory of Mack, as we all called her, came when she couldn’t have been older than two. During a visit to their house, my daughter, Laura, a year and a half older, and she were playing together in the McDermotts’ living room as we all enjoyed one another’s companies, just as we did on just about every Saturday night to follow. I remember making faces at Mack, tickling her some to make her laugh, putting her on my lap, and doing the same playful things with Laura. But at some point, Laura started to get a little jealous because, to her, it seemed like someone else might have been getting a little more attention. We all laugh today at what Laura told us that night, so crossly: “No, no, baby ‘Kenzie. My daddy, not yours.” Those two girls, Laura and Mackenzie, would go on to become the dearest of friends. Like Savannah, they were my daughters. We all have different memories like that of Mackenzie,


either from the hallways or classrooms of this great old building to sleepovers to weekend nights out with the McDermotts, the Doyle-Mutmans, the Parsons-Mosers, the Ericksons and the McKinneys. All of us who knew Mack, remember this kid as the


perfect mix of Kevin and Stacy. She was a beautifully, creative writer with enormous intellect and wit like both her mom and dad. She was tall, even-keeled and outgoing in a way where everybody wanted to be her friend, all things that reminded me very much of her dad. She was athletic, a competitor, a lover of Sunday football and sometimes a girly-girl, just like her mom. Whatever she did, Mack had this way of making things look easy, even if it seemed like


she wasn’t really trying. Like when she would show up for golf practice in flip-flops and drive a golf ball 280 yards. Or make a miracle catch of a softball that appeared to be sailing over her head. Or when that spunky, cute-as-a-button little kid, as a kindergartener, strapped on shoulder pads, put a helmet on her head and was the only girl quarterback in an all-boys youth football league.


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