Saturday, April 8, 2017

Three Beautiful Things 04/07/17: Preparation for Mom's Outing, Mom Perks Up, My Past Rushes to the Present

1.  Mom and I were up at 6 a.m. No more of this lazing around in bed until 7:30! We had a big day planned with Marguerite Gallaher's funeral coming up at 5 p.m. Mom knew she couldn't come into the church through the front door, primarily because of the steps leading from the foyer into the sanctuary, but she and my sisters told me about a wheelchair ramp in the back of the church. Shortly after noon, I drove over to the American Lutheran Church and checked out the ramp, mainly to assess whether I thought Mom would want to push her walker up it or ride in her wheelchair. The last time Mom went to a funeral at this church, the back door at the top of the ramp was locked. After I scouted the ramp, I drove up to the funeral home to talk to the director to make sure the door would be open and to find out what Mom would be facing once inside that back door. Our conversation helped me a lot and I came home with a report that eased some of Mom's anxiety about getting in the church.

2. Mom had another day of falling asleep frequently, but as the time drew near for the funeral, she perked right up and dressed up really nice. We decided it would be best for Mom to use her wheelchair. When we arrived at the church, about forty minutes before the service, several members of the Grandmothers Club were panting their way up the ramp, making me glad Mom was in her wheelchair. When the women ahead of us got to the back door that goes into the fellowship hall, guess what? -- it was locked. But, one of the grandmothers rapped sharply on the door and one of the caterers opened it and cleared the way for me to wheel Mom through the hall and into the sanctuary. I don't know if Mom was relieved that with my help she got down the steps at home, into her wheelchair, into the car, out of the car, back into the wheelchair, up the ramp, through the door, and into the sanctuary, but I sure was.

3. In 1959-60, when I was in morning kindergarten and Mom was teaching at the Silver King school and Dad was working at the Zinc Plant and Christy was four years old, Marguerite was our babysitter each of my parents' workday. Today, nearly sixty years later, those days flashed before my eyes as Pastor Bartel read memories Marguerite's grandchildren and great grandchildren had written, and they were startlingly similar to things I remembered, yes, nearly sixty years ago: Marguerite's love for her parakeet, her enjoyment of cards and other games, her love of knitting, crocheting, and other handiwork, how she took us to parades, the great food she prepared for us, and her love of television -- ha! I chuckled during the service thinking how it seemed to me that I Love Lucy was always on when we were at Marguerite's.

After the funeral, at the dinner, I visited with people who were my boyhood elders, many whom I hadn't seen in decades. Marguerite's youngest daughter, Sandy, married the son, Dan, of our other babysitter when we lived on East Portland in uptown Kellogg, Mary Pavelich. I delighted in talking with Sandy and Dan.  I hadn't seen them since I was in grade school. Maybe I'll see them again at the All-Class reunion in August. I got to chat with Mary Pierce, re-introduce myself to Sano Haldi, talk with Joanne Schonewald, shake hands with Carolyn MacPhee, say hi to Donna White, and visit with Millie Savage.

Millie is nearly 100 years old and she startled me, in fact, staggered me, when she told me she always thought I was the most handsome boy in our Sunnyside neighborhood and always thought I should have been an actor -- because of my "good looks".  I got to tell her that I have done some acting and that tickled her.

I wheeled Mom out of the fellowship hall and helped her back into the car. Once home, Mom struggled going up the steps to get in the house, but, with my assistance, she made it and we settled into a relaxed evening, much of it with Christy.

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