Across The Lake
My dad's had a rough couple of days so I'm going to try to fill his space for him this week. He taught me so much about the newspaper business and for a time my career path followed his. I haven't written my own weekly column for almost two decades, but being my father's daughter, I am going to try to be the wordsmith that he is.
I call mom and dad every Saturday morning at 9 a.m. West Coast time. Often I have just had my first cup of coffee and am ready to savor a second cup while talking with them. By then, they are ready to enjoy a second pot of coffee while we talk for anywhere from 20 to 60 minutes. It's our time to catch up on the week's activities, the weather and the latest antics of their great-granddaughter. I look forward to that call all week long.
This Saturday morning I got a call from my sister in Iowa before I called mom and dad. She told me that while dad was making barbecued spareribs for supper Friday night, he was talking to my mom (his first wife and also his Favorite Reader) when his words got jumbled up and mom got concerned. He didn't want her to call an ambulance so my ever-resourceful mother called dad's boss.
Paula came to the house immediately and her EMT training kicked right in. Paula gave dad no choice and she and her husband, Erick, bundled dad and mom off to the Bemidji hospital. They stayed with mom until the wee hours of the morning and then took her back home. Dad spent two nights at the hospital.
By the time I learned of all of this on Saturday morning mom had slept for about three hours, had taken care of the cats, had showered and put on her make-up, had already done a couple loads of laundry and was cleaning house. That's my mom -- she learned that cleanliness is next to Godliness from her German mother and mom passed that trait along to me. Whenever I think about leaving the house without making the bed or cleaning up the kitchen, I hear mom reminding me that we are from "hearty peasant stock" and I turn around and finish up those chores before I head out the door.
My dad and mom have given me so much to be thankful for -- their unconditional love and support tops the list. They have always encouraged me to work hard to achieve what I want in life, to follow my dreams, to appreciate what others give me and to celebrate my accomplishments.
Thanksgiving is still a couple of weeks away but there are a few things I would like the good folks of Blackduck to know that I am very grateful for. I am thankful that my mom and dad have good friends like Paula and Erick, Marilyn and Wally, Carol and Dennis, Joyce, Bob, Lucille, Kenny, Curt and all of the others who will step in and help out whenever or wherever they are needed.
I am thankful that my siblings -- Janet, David and Suzanne -- are willing and able to drop everything and drive to Hines to help mom and dad. It's hard to live so far away from them, out here in Oregon. It's hard to understand that the TSA is doing everything they can to make travel safer while increasing the time it takes to get anywhere. It's hard to reconcile paying $1,477.10 if I wanted to fly Delta Airlines from Portland to Bemidji next week to check on my parents.
I am especially thankful for all the faithful readers of my dad's column. He often tells me of comments someone has made about his column when he runs into them at the bank or the post office or the grocery store. I know it means so much to him to hear from you readers. I like it when dad tackles issues -- the government, political ads, the often repulsive language in today's movies -- whatever rankles him that week. All of us in the family like to see our name in print so it's a contest to see if "we made the column" this week.
Above all, I am so very thankful that there are exceptional doctors and nurses who take care of my dad and mom. Please keep up the good work. We need you.
Thoughts while unloading the dishwasher... Dad is doing much better now and is back home across the lake. He will be back here -- where he belongs -- next week.