On Enchanted to Remember

Wedding

That was August 23, 1952. Their wedding eventually led to their daughter introducing me to them before a college football game in the fall of 1974. We married in April 1977. August 2012 was their 60th anniversary celebration, and the delightful footnote that the entire wedding party was still alive.

My mother-in-law loved both of these songs. A toast to a good person with the gentile heart that everyone enjoyed and respected. We will miss her, but the love and memories she gave us will last forever.


For a Friend

A year ago, the hearts of many were heavy as we received word of the passing of an outstanding lady that my wife and I were lucky to know and call friend.

We last saw her at handbell practice in early November after returning from a week-long Caribbean cruise. She was fighting chest congestion for a month, thus at the end of rehearsal, my wife and another ringer convinced her to escalate her troubles. Later that week she went to the hospital, received X-rays, was admitted, and never returned home.

Being gracious, funny, and a good one to kid, those that knew her, loved her. No matter what she did, she always gave it her best, and with the ability to laugh at herself … and, much too young to leave the living.

We, and the family, thought she would be home for Thanksgiving or shortly thereafter, but the lung cancer was too aggressive and too advanced. I can’t recall ever crying for so many consecutive days – not for any friends or my grandparents, aunts, uncles, or parents. It was very hard for us in this house, and it also impacted our entire holiday season.

Nonetheless, we grabbed our bootstraps, and focused on her husband because that is something we could do here and now. I’m proud of him as he’s done well, and I’m happy with the little part that I’ve played.

Today is the first anniversary of her passing – thus, why I couldn’t do a cartoon post. She wouldn’t be much for the today’s hub-bub, thus would be fussy with me to post as normal – but that’s ok, she’s not here to stop me … besides, I can use this to  kid her again!

I’ve thought a lot of her this week, and even write this with tears – but it’s something I had to do for a good lady.

A few days after her funeral, I posted this tribute to her, as I share a constant reminder I have of her.  Besides, I know I’m a better person today because of her role of a portion of my life – but my wife and I still miss her.

Her funeral was difficult for the entire handbell choir as she was one of us, besides, her husband asked us to play. I still recall the difficulty of that rehearsal for the entire choir, but also his strength and pride through his smile as we concluded at the funeral.

Today is a good time to share this beautiful version of Beside Still Waters we played with heavy hearts for our friend and handbell colleague.

Meanwhile, “Hey up there – how are the butterflies?” (actually, an inside joke for her that I couldn’t resist)

On I Remember These

Besides the fact that technology is one reason the world has become smaller, many of us have seen much change right before our eyes. On the other hand, who knows what the young people today will end up seeing across their lifetime. After all, I recall driving around when he visited us at least 25 years ago, and out of the clear blue he said, “This is going to be some world in another 50 years.” I imagine he was reflecting on his time since 1925.

In my case, growing up in a rural part of Ohio helped delay the implementation of certain products and services, but here are some things from my past (and I’m sure I left out plenty of other good points).

I remember …

… Watching Howdy Doody

… The arrival of basic cable

… Drinking Fizzies

… Dialing Operator to make a local phone call

… Paying $1 and getting 3 gallons of gas

… The time when small town merchants thrived

… Mr Adams having no assigned homework because he knew we would be watching the Batman debut

… Elementary class taking time to watch the launching of the Mercury astronauts

… High school chemistry and physics classes requiring the use of a slide rule

… Doing computer programming on keypunch cards – that is with each line on a separate card and hoping never to drop them

… The transition due to Vatican II

… Stroh’s and Pabst Blue Ribbon being big-named national beers

… Watching a 1-hr version on Sunday morning (11 am) of the Notre Dame game the day before – and broadcast by the legendary Lindsey Nelson

… The first McDonald’s coming to the area and the sign including “x Millions Sold”

… The British music invasion

… Boxes of laundry detergent containing free glassware or towels

… Home milk delivery

… Burger Chef

… Receiving stamps (Green, Yellow, or Plaid) for grocery store purchases that were redeemable for merchandise

… Instrumental hits as Telstar, Popcorn, and Tijuana Taxi

… 1968 being the most turbulent year ever

… Airports having outside observation decks

… Stores closed on Sundays

… Teens wondering when they would get the car for the evening (as opposed to what car they get when turning 16)

Just a trip down memory lane for me and hopefully I stimulated your memory, so feel to add others.

On a Reunion

Last weekend I traveled to the opposite corner of Ohio to join classmates at a reunion to celebrate our graduation 40 years ago. Since our class has not gathered since our 25th, many thanks to the group who pulled us together in a matter of weeks on a weekend associated with the high school homecoming.

I didn’t make it to the Friday night game, but my wife and I arrived to see people for a parade and considerable socializing. It was great to see many people:

  • Sharon (who was alphabetically next to me in many classes)
  • Jeff (who sank the winning shot in a legendary game, and enjoys DWTS)
  • Eric (my longtime friend with whom I’ve remained in contact)
  • My faithful band of good friends who started in first grade together and remained cohesive through graduation (some who I saw a year ago at the visitation for my father)
  • Kathy and Mary (two wonderful ladies who came into my life when our schools consolidated,
  • Dave (simply a great person that I admire and miss)
  • And others as Jon, Roger, Sherry, Anita, Mick, Peggy, Ron, Rich, Jennifer, Tom, Judy, Brenda, Larry, Kaye, Donna, and whomever I have left out, including those from other classes

Several times during the day, I thought about those I would not see because their life was shorter than mine. From an auto accident within a year after graduation, to mid-life suicide and those who fought cancer, losing 12 out of 187 is not a bad percentage for 40 years.

Nobody mentioned her, but I thought of Effie, my first classmate to die (third grade). I’m not sure if it was leukemia, lupus, or whatever, but I can remember her short black hair and smile – and even attending a party at her house just above the old school.

Of all the life forms in this world, we humans are the most social and the ones who interact with more of the same species than any other organism. I wonder how many people I have met in my life – even if for a short time – the number must be staggering, yet only a fraction of the percent of people on the planet. However, all those interactions shape us in some way. No matter how short or long the relationship, these interactions are part of the dominoes in our life.

I tell my nieces and nephews that the most important decision is life is who you choose to be around. My life has been a blessing, not only for because of my family and hometown classmates, but those that I’ve through work, church, college, travel, and countless life encounters – including today’s electronic world as blogs.

Yes, I wonder why some of the locals did not have the time to greet those of us who came greater distances but I imagine a few had other obligations. Nonetheless, I am glad I went and ever so thankful for all the dominoes in my life – even the small one from who did not make it with us to fourth grade.

Thanks to Brenda for a pic.