We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Saturday, February 22. 2014
It was one year ago that my Mom died of complications from a hip replacement. Dad died four months later from the same thing, but he didn't really desire to live without her sparkling, upbeat, and charming company.
I learned at her funeral, from one of my sisters, that she had been writing a weekly gardening column for two newspapers for 25 years. Had she been younger, she might have had a gardening website.
A little snobby and discriminating, perhaps, but she had good taste and she had good pals from every walk of life, and lots of them. She had a talent for connecting with people, so home always had friends and neighbors stopping by unannounced for tea or cocktails. You would never know who might stop in but it was always fun and interesting. As a kid, all sorts of people came by: old farmers, Leonard Bernstein and his "Mrs.", Robert Penn Warren, neighbors, bankers, the local Pediatrician, retired yard guys, lonely widows, the Pastor looking for a glass of Scotch and a jolly chat. Relatives looking for a warm chair by the fire and a hot toddy. Robert Frost and his family stopped by too, but I was hardly conscious then. Mom was pals with his daughter, I think, or his niece. Their two homes - town and country - were open houses, and everybody knew it. Their kitchen (with fireplace and comfy chairs) was rarely empty of people.
Ol' Rodney stopped by too, at least twice a week for a morning coffee. The autistic son of a local farmer who had died, farm sold out to developers, he rode his bike year-round all around town. Mom would let ol' Rodney do some yard work, but he would not accept payment. He just wanted connection and to be useful. Rodney was a true old-style New Englanda' with the old accent, and he never missed Sunday at church.
"One could do worse than to be a swinger of birches." My wish is that my kids will absorb all of this family tradition.
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A beautiful life, well-lived with lots of energy. We would all like to have that said of ourselves, would we not?
Your mother appeared to be rather vigorous at 80.
A heartfelt, well-written eulogy. What you have written about your mother is what a good memorial service/funeral is- a celebration of the deceased's life.
Should laughter be excluded from memorial services? That is up to each collection of family and friends conducting a memorial service, but I enjoyed the laughter at them. At my father's memorial service, a neighbor told the story of the time my father called to request use of the neighbor's ladder for painting our house. "Why George, my ladder is at your house." Which it was- my father had borrowed it the previous year and forgotten that he had stored it in a crawlspace underneath out house. Yes, my father was absent-minded at times.
What a touching post Birddog. I'm sorry about relentlessness of your deep grieving, and hope one day the memories will just bring sweetness and light, less pain.
Both my parents are in their mid-80s and well enough right now, but I know my tough days will come too soon. It scares me. God bless you.
An elegant eulogy. Your parents sound like true Yankee Lady and Gentleman, a rare breed sorely missed.
Oh--I do so hope she got to come to Montana! She would have been most welcome here!
Perhaps, this will help with the lingering ache (which never really goes away, but just becomes a part of life).
Think of it this way: the only time you were ever victimized by your parents was when they left you! And, even then they did not leave you alone. They did well BD and so do you.
You could not possibly have written a lovelier tribute - one which has clearly been bumping around in your noggin over the intervening months. It is richest in its unspoken fondness which, although unexpressed, shines through your words like sunbeams from behind broken clouds. Hugs from afar to you and to her memory, knowing at first hand well how embarrassing and secretly delightful that is to Yankees.
What a touching tribute. Although you didn't say it, women like Mrs. (I'll bet she would not have abided Ms though she was a forerunner of that movement) BDmatriarch are referred to as formidable and indomitable, but again, you convey the sense that her spirit would have found such language pretentious.
I know it is not the Yankee way, but tell those you love that you love them, frequently and consistently, while they are able to hear it. Cuts down on the regrets, we never know when someone we love might be suddenly taken, or unable to comprehend. That's a big downside of the traditional Yankee reserve, and may be why so many in that region resort to therapy or destructive coping mechanisms. Nothing wrong with gratitude expressed, or love shown. Life has so many tough times, make room for enjoying and sharing the good, openly.
BD...God bless you and your parents. Your Mom sounds wonderful and I'd love to have met her. My parents are hanging in there (3 time zones away) at 86 and I can't imagine losing either of them. I respect your grief and loss. Thanks for sharing. For what it's worth, you've built a community that is with you.
Hopefully the wonderful memories will help you with your loss. How wonderful to have had your parents for so long! And it sounds like both of them were so full of life! It seems that they imparted quite a bit of their life and wisdom to you. Truly a gift of which to be proud!
Loosing your mom and dad was quite a loss for many people in their sphere of involvement.
Deep condolences to you and the rest of the family.
I am grateful for the tribute you wrote about your folks. Thank you for sharing. You had wonderful parents and should consider yourself a wealthy man because of the rich memories they left you.
Thank you for a lovely evocation of a lovely person and personality - condolences on your loss, of both her and your Dad.
Although I am a True Son Of The South, having on occasion worked among 'em, I recognize the difference between a real "Down-East" Yankee and that "phenomenon" we down South sometimes must suffer known as the DamnYankee (was an older teenager before I knew that that was actually two words!). Pretty clearly, your folks were the by-far-better of those two; I can respect and even admire the first - even when opinions might differ on divers matters - while unrelentingly despising the second.
I did not know them - but I will miss them, albeit less than you doubtlessly do and will.
I truly love the license plate.
A beautiful life, well-lived with lots of energy.
Yes, the dash. 19xx — 20xx and her dash was well filled.
May the blessings of Heaven rest upon you, her family.
Sorry for your loss BD. Please celebrate the fact that your life has been blessed by those dear departed. And then celebrate it some more. Pass on your blessings. Praise God.