Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Hardest Part Was Deciding Which....Two!

Who could eat just one of these? Margie made sure she brought plenty. Once the coffee was made, and the fire was roaring, and the jokes and the stories were getting pretty thick, these treats were like the whipped cream on the cherry on the frosting!  Posted by Picasa

Our Heartfelt Thanks

We agreed with Valerie that we needed to show our gratitude and appreciation towards the people who went with us to Tulsa. LuWanna and Chris made themselves very useful, quietly and behind the scenes. They never asked for anything for themselves, but were supportive and thoughtful while the rest of us were very worried and sad. The things they did to help us would make too long a list to put here. They were there when most people would have wanted to be very far away from the devastating process of our losing our precious mother and grandmother. We would have hopes, only to be told terrible news we often didn't fully understand, and then there was the long day we knew we were losing her and there was nothing we could do to save her. It was a roller coaster of emotions with our beloved, unconcious, mother at the very center, and for our friends to stick with us through all that so far away from their own support system is just so remarkable. They deserved a very special thanks.

So two weeks ago, Valerie kicked up a huge fire in her backyard, and made it a special occasion by inviting LuWanna and Chris and the rest of the family for a surprise thank you party! It turned out very well as you can see. Our special guests were presented with gifts and many hugs. OH, and did I mention the food? Margie brought a whole wagon of doughnuts, Ken brought his all-time crowd-pleasing lasagne, Val made her heartwarming Fireside Chili, and there were many other goodies and treats. But the best part was the roaring fire, fed by clean pallet wood. Mike brought a mountain of it, precariously balanced on his Jeep, and it not only kept us warm, it burned without noxious smoke or smell. For those of us who were there, it was comforting to be together and I think it helped us all.
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6 Years of Cuteness and Fun

It was a really beautiful day to celebrate the twin's 6th birthday with family and friends. Brooke and Paige each got a cake, they had some friends their age to play with as well as many cousins, and the Polly Pockets marathon began in their bedroom. Meanwhile, the adults watched Alia play in the little red car, and since Aunt Valerie had never seen the property, Ray took us for a walk. He showed us the places where he planned some spooky Halloween fun, out in the darkening, leaf-crackling, deep woods!
Cindy had made some of her great chili, and there were those ice cream treats to go with the cake. The pinata was painless, since it came apart when the kids all pulled the strings. A day of fun and celebration, and a good get-together. Posted by Picasa

Corny Kid

This is Emily, but whose fingers could those be in the background? Hmm....must be some other little ghoul. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Brian Gaskill arranged to have Bread Of Life open for a memorial service. His friend Terry Hazen, formerly of the Jesus Inn, spoke a few words, and turned the service over to those of us who wanted to get up and say a few words. The words spoken were very moving, and it was so heartwarming to see so many of Mom's good friends there.
The real neat thing is that this facility is a former night club. When you walk inside, you get a lovely church-like feeling, with royal burgundy wall hangings and religious portraits and icons. But on the wall, a cowboy hat made of neon light tubing. A cactus and some longhorns.....and the bar is still there, although it looks more like it is used for food service now. And I am thinking, wow, this is perfect for Mom. She would have approved. She was such a charming combination of naughty and nice!
Brian's office manager and some other ladies had brought us many, many bags of quick-fix foods and I hope I won't embarass anyone by saying they spared no expense. Deli trays of fruit and vegetables, several pounds of sandwich meat that was deli-fresh and, everything else from cookies to chips and cake. Mom's good friend Kim and her husband Sunny were nice enough to bring us a couple of buckets of fried chicken to the hospital, because no one wanted to leave long enough to go to a restaurant. And they also brought cakes and a huge tray of brownies and roasted chicken to the luncheon we had after the memorial service. Someone else had left a loaf of home-made braided bread on the porch for us. Everyone was so kind. It brought tears to my eyes to see how loving Mom's friends were, knowing they were they were her family in Tulsa. Her neighbors David and Cathy and kids always played a role in Mom's life. They were across-the-street neighbors whose visits and kindesses cheered her days.

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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Mom's Bulletin Board

Knowing I might never return to Tulsa, I took a few pictures of the inside of the house Mom lived in and enjoyed for so many years. One of the things I always appreciated about Mom's house is that it was always different. Different furniture, new paint, updated or remodeled, or just plain re-arranged. I mentioned this to Mike and said, "She gets rid of old things when she gets tired of them and gets new things." Mike raised his Senor Mike eyebrow and said in a low voice, "She never got rid of anything. Have you seen the garage?" I laughed. NO, I hadn't seen the garage but I will take Mike's word for it.

This bulletin board in her kitchen stayed the same for a long time. I think you can understand why. Posted by Picasa

The Pentwater Five

I remember the day this was taken in Pentwater at Ev and Bea's house. Uncle Bill looked like a professor! The date was October of 1977. Posted by Picasa
We were very anxious to get to Tulsa, but our plans came to an abrupt halt when, after dark in downstate Illinois, Jamie's car sprayed a fountain of oil onto Luwanna's windshied so thick she couldn't see. Both cars pulled over into a truck stop that was nearby. Lucky for us! It soon became apparent that the oil drain plug in Jamie's car had been knocked out by some road hazard. A pool of oil quickly formed under her car. A very nice trucker got under her car to try to measure the opening. He tried out a couple parts he found in his truck but they didn't fit. So he recommended she try a truck stop back down the interstate. Jamie and Michael went off in Luwanna's van, but before they left, the trucker asked them if they had the money to buy the part and the oil that would be needed. He would surely have offered it to them if they had said no, and that just amazed me. Later on, he brought Val and Luwanna each a cold drink as they sat waiting under a rain shelter.

Well, there were no places open that night that had the needed part. So we all ended up staying at a hotel that wasn't exactly the Ritz. But the good news is, we all got a night's sleep and the part was found the next day. We went on our way, and Jamie's car was fine until we almost got to Tulsa. It needed some further repair unrelated to the oil drain plug incident. So here I want to shout out some very heartfelt thanks: Luwanna, you provided us a way to go, which was going way above and beyond the call of duty as a friend. Ray and Cindy, you provided me with money so we could spend the night at a hotel, and this I believe got us there safely and in much better shape. We needed that rest for the events that were to come. The trucker, I don't know his name, showed us kindness that I would never have believed from a stranger. I finally told him we were going to see our Mom who was extremely critical. But he acted out of kindness before he knew how desperate our situation was. Van, in Tulsa, called in some chips, and when Jamie's car needed some extensive repair, he supervised two young men in his garage, with Jamie' s car hoisted up, and they got 'r done! There were many kindnesses and many heroes during this time of sadness and stress for our family. But I did want to especially mention these folks because their kindness made such a huge difference in our lives. Posted by Picasa