Dick's Blog

“Picture of Life”, Chapter 36 of “Inside and Outside: Messages of Hope from a Lifelong Hiker and Depression Survivor”

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GREAT NANA WITH HER BELOVED HUSBAND, CHRISTMAS PAST     

Welcome back to my free memoirs. You can access all the chapters in my first memoir, “Hiking Out”, and all chapters posted to date of my second memoir, “Inside and Outside”, by going to my BLOG and clicking on the appropriate book title at dicksederquist.com  

 

This Week, “Picture of Life”, Chapter 36 of “Inside and Outside (my granddaughter said, “Hi Great Nana”, and combed her hair)

Next Week, “Thanksgiving Leaves”, Chapter 37 of “Inside and Outside” (I always poke ahead a little bit with my hiking stick)

Update:

You can read more about Great Nana’s final journey in my story, “Alice”, in the Chapter 24 BLOG of my memoir, “Hiking Out”. Her great granddaughter, then about age 6 and representing the future, was there to share and provide comfort in some of the last moments of Alice’s life. When I asked my granddaughter, “Sweetie, what is the most important thing in life?” She wisely answered, “Grandpa, the most important thing in life is FAMILY.”

Picture of Life

Her next to last ride was to our state’s Hospice facility. She had been uncommunicative for almost a year, sleeping most of the time. Her weight was at a point where she had nothing more to give. She lingered, approaching the end of her life almost asymptotically, like a flat stone skipping along the surface, but never sinking, crossing the barrier between air and water. The caring and constant efforts of the nursing home were prolonging the inevitable. Accepting the spoon or cup had become an involuntary reflex action, no longer a conscious and willing decision. When she arrived at Hospice, they politely asked her if she wanted anything. She responded by sleeping, maintaining a clenched jaw, even refusing the swabs to freshen her mouth. Her dignity intact, she, in her own way, decided what was best. She chose sleep. After nine days she took her last ride, into our memories.

It was a small service, three simple heartfelt eulogies, three of her favorite hymns, pictures of her as a young woman and with her beloved husband and family. Her grandchildren talked about what was special about her, things that we had forgotten or never saw through their eyes. Time had ceased to move for her during her slow decline. We felt helpless because it seemed that our words of comfort did not register. The words and pictures at the funeral revealed the grand landscape of her life, capturing her essence from child to mourned parent. The comfort from loved ones had been provided throughout her entire life. It was part of the fabric and colors of that painting. Maybe she didn’t see or hear what was said in those final days, but what was said and felt flowed onto that canvas and made it vibrant and aglow. Two days before the end, with her bed wheeled outside on their patio overlooking the sea, with the wind catching wisps of her hair, my granddaughter held her hand and said, “Hi, Great Nana,” and then combed her hair. It was an indelible part of that picture.

Next Week, “Thanksgiving Leaves”, Chapter 37 of “Inside and Outside” (I always poke ahead a little bit with my hiking stick)

“Silent Movie”, Chapter 35 of “Inside and Outside: Messages of Hope from a Lifelong Hiker and Depression Survivor”

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GENTLEMEN, CHOOSE YOUR WEAPONS

Welcome back to my free memoirs. You can access all the chapters in my first memoir, “Hiking Out”, and all chapters posted to date of my second memoir, “Inside and Outside”, by going to my BLOG and clicking on the appropriate book title at dicksederquist.com  

This Week, “Silent Movie”, Chapter 35 of “Inside and Outside (I hate violence, and this could escalate)

Next Week, “Picture of Life”, Chapter 36 of “Inside and Outside (my granddaughter said, “Hi Great Nana”, and combed her hair)

Update:

Property feuds have made the national senatorial news lately, which reminds me of my old story written a long time ago. Fortunately, I won’t have to watch this movie again. This film critic and the lead actors no longer live in the same neighborhood. Like the parable of turning the other cheek (avoiding personal retaliation over perceived slights, hurt feelings or injured pride and self-esteem) our world needs more forgiving and loving individuals and neighbors.

Silent Movie

I’m not shocked at this display, just saddened. I could have written the script. I wish I could play peacemaker, but don’t know how and where to begin. I hate violence, and this could escalate. They are two very nice people, who should not be getting their blood pressure riled up over this kind of thing. There are worse problems in the world.

Two of my friends have been carrying on a feud for a few years. It simmers down and heats up. We all pray that, like a stubborn infection, it will finally yield to time and just go away. The problem is, they are both (a little) hardheaded and don’t quite understand what pisses the other guy off. If the world knew this, there would be no war.

I watched neighbor No.1 use his snow blower to clean the street in front of his mailbox. Normally, I wouldn’t follow such action, but my right hand is in a cast from a joint replacement, slightly bored with fewer jobs that I can do. Since I was inside, there was no sound, no dialogue, a silent movie. He then proceeded to clear the other side of his driveway, the shoot of his snow blower directed toward the strip of grass between the street and sidewalk of neighbor No.2. Big mistake! The effluent from the shoot was full of sand and salt.

Neighbor, No.2, was pushing the light snow from his driveway with a shovel. I could see it coming. I was transfixed, but as if in a dream, I was unable to speak or move a muscle. Clearly, the sand and salt doesn’t belong on the lawn, but this goes on all winter. The town snowplows build up speed and direct this horrible mess half way up the front lawn all winter long.
Neighbor No.2 walked over to the patch of grass between the street and sidewalk near his property line, scooped up a large load of the of- fending snow, sand and salt and threw it at Neighbor No.1, followed by another shovel full. Big mistake! Neighbor No.1 (my old friend having very good sense) fortunately retreated. He could have attacked. I felt slightly sick to my stomach, again transfixed and unable to affect anything that was going on. The confrontation was over. I can’t imagine the internal dialogue of these two individuals, can’t imagine what counter move is being contemplated. I pray the anger will yield to the passage of time.

If I could play peacemaker, I would sit them both down together and lecture them, appeal to their sensibilities, tell them that I loved them both, tell them that in the grand scheme of things they should love and forgive each other. It boils down to choice: make love or war. If I could help, I would. Maybe, it was just a bad dream. I never want to see this movie again.

“The Dump”, Chapter 34 of “Inside and Outside: Messages of Hope from a Lifelong Hiker and Depression Survivor”

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ANOTHER PIECE OF FURNITURE FROM THE DUMP, LOVINGLY RESTORED BY MY FATHER IN-LAW

Welcome back to my free memoirs. You can access all the chapters in my first memoir, “Hiking Out”, and all chapters posted to date of my second memoir, “Inside and Outside”, by going to my BLOG and clicking on the appropriate book title at dicksederquist.com  

This Week, “The Dump”, Chapter 34 of “Inside and Outside ”(one man’s junk is another man’s treasure)

 Next Week, “Silent Movie”, Chapter 35 of “Inside and Outside (I hate violence, and this could escalate)

Update:

When I wrote this tribute to my father in-law, my town dump didn’t charge for the stuff I brought there. Now days, they charge me $20 regardless of what I have in the back of my Subaru, even a bag of leaves. The magic of a trip to the dump is gone. Good thing, my father in-law isn’t around to see this. He would be disappointed that the old barter system based on friendship and camaraderie no longer works in today’s society. The magic may be gone, but I still have the fond memory of this story. I also still have this continuing loyalty to Subaru’s. At least, something’s don’t change.

The Dump

I love going to the dump. My waste service won’t take leaves, vegetation and other articles that won’t fit in the big plastic thing with wheels that I roll out to the curb each week. I’m at a loss for words for whatever you officially call this vessel, a garbage can with wheels. It’s enormous. You could hide a body in there. Strange, but I never heard about that happening. Fortunately, I have a Subaru Outback, which I can load with stuff for the dump. This is a special place that my town runs, allowing me to get rid of things I don’t want. There are people there who love to see me arrive. I make their existence possible. Without this facility, I would be buried in leaves, vegetation, and stuff that, if not recycled, would turn my property into a dump.

The place holds special memories for me. My father in-law also loved his dump and recycling center. Like me, he got rid of the things that wouldn’t fit into his trashcan. It’s funny, although he was constantly cleaning, after he passed away, we had to get rid of more junk that he had squirreled away. One reason is that he never returned empty-handed from the dump. There was a lot of good wood, fixtures and furniture that could be fixed up. He couldn’t understand how people could throw such good stuff away. As they say, one’s man’s junk is another man’s treasure. Some of the refinished tables in my house came from my father in-law’s dump.

Most important, his visits to his dump were a special sojourn. He knew everybody by name, and they knew his. When he died, I’m sure there was someone from the dump at his memorial service. He was their best customer. If it wasn’t for the decorum his wife expected, he would have had all his friends at the dump back for a beer. That didn’t keep him from leaving a few bottles there for his friends. My children remember my father-in-law’s dump. Often, they would ride with him on his weekly visit. It was a special treat, sitting next to their grandpa, and listening to him talk. He was a pied piper, his good spirits and laughter, his magic flute, entrancing all to follow him.

When I fill up the Outback, the feeling hits me. It’s almost like going to church, where you off load your mental junk for the week. Cleaning house has the same effect. Getting rid of junk rids your world and mind of useless clutter. Maybe that is why he was so happy. He left all his cares and worries at the dump. He recycled the good spirits he found there. He brought smiles and joy to the people who worked there. To him it was a holy place. Here they used the barter system, a smile for a smile, a good word for a good word, a neat little end table for a stack of old newspapers. This morning, my wife pointed out a few chips on the antique green table in our family room. My grandchildren, the children of my children, are always playing there. He fixed up and refinished that table. I have some dark green paint somewhere. Someday, my son or daughter will own that table, no longer junk, but restored to a new life, a memory of him.