Things are not quite firm yet, but it looks as though we will be doing the following:
Friday, August 12th – early evening – a wake in a chapel on the outskirts of town. Not a party, rah rah wake, but a time for fellowship and prayer. I encourage those who attend to be prepared to say some quick words or tell a short story. We’d really like that. But if you just want to sit and listen and pray and be there that would be cool too. Food and drinks will probably be provided. Exact location and time to follow. No transportation will be provided – so some people may need to ask around for rides. I’m willing to hook people up if required.
Saturday, August 13th – morning – A Catholic mass with a short funeral rite. All are welcome even if not religious. Location and time to follow.
Feel free to attend one or the other or both.
Here are two thoughts I’ve had of Dad recently:
When I was young I loved to take everything apart to figure out how it works. That comes from Dad. Together he and I did toaster and VCR repair. We took care of his lift. We did plumbing. Dad always seemed to know how everything worked. I used to assume it was just due to his farming background, but it is more than that. He watched and he thought and he poked around and he learned. And that wasn’t just used to fix things – he applied that same process to work, to watching politics, to enjoying sports and to playing games. Dad and I played lots of games together. He wasn’t one to let me win because you learn by doing not by winning. Crib, Chess, Checkers, Mastermind, Backgammon, Crokinole and Pente – these and many more were in common use around the house. After Dad retired he continued to use games to keep his mind sharp – mostly crosswords and mahjong type solitaire games. A day without trying to figure out something new – I’m not sure that Dad ever had one of those.
The other thought is that I used to ride Dad’s wheelchair to work. Doing that as a child is one of my favorite memories. In my mind we did it lots every summer, but in actuality it was probably less. I’ll need to set it up a little.
Our home was on the side of the Peace River valley. Below our home to the west, there was a hillside and beneath us was the hospital. Above us to the east was another hill. In front of the house running north-south was 101 street. To the north it went down and to the south it went up. To get to the hospital where Dad worked you went down our driveway, along 101 st. north, down 109 ave west, and then back south on the fairly level 99 street.
Dad used a manual wheelchair the entire time he worked and it was a pretty short push to help him get to work in the morning. Our driveway and 109 avenue were both pretty steep. To go down them you held onto the handlebars and pulled back to keep the chair from running away on you. But 101 street was more gently sloped. Here I would climb onto the tipping bars behind the wheels and hold onto the handle bars. Dad would control our speed by letting the wheels pass through his hands. Although it was not the fastest ride and Dad was in control the whole way it was still fun and exhilarating.
In hindsight it seems almost brace and reckless – if Dad or I lost control for even a moment the result would surely be a bad spill when the chair finally tipped or ran into something. Mom probably came along on the earliest trips to be sure we could control the chair, but I don’t remember that. I remember Dad and I basically pretending to race go-carts down 101 street. That was cool.
Of course the price of the ride down was picking up Dad in the evening. The return trip was all uphill. The first summer day we did it was always a struggle for young arms, but legs and arms would grow stronger over the summer to the point where it was mostly a simple walk.