Sunday, November 14, 2010
A Treasure Day
Today was one of those treasure days you want to store in your memory in fine detail, to pull out and savor forever. We gathered as a family - Dad and Mom along with the three of us girls with our husbands and our children who are still at home. We spent the afternoon laughing and sharing memories of our growing up years. We remembered them showing up at our school on a Friday mid-day and "kidnapping" us and taking us on a "grand adventure" to a cabin or other retreat spot for the weekend. We remembered canoeing down the Mississippi starting at the headwaters in Itasca State Park and staying at those remote landings which seemed forever around the "next" bend but took hours to get to. Dad would cook for us over an open fire and let us swim in the river. We remembered ice slides Dad helped us build - one even after we were married and there were grandchildren.
Then Mom read a chapter from Winnie the Pooh. More laughter. After our first chapter of Pat McManus we had called the children to join us so they wanted a chapter, too - thus a second chapter of Pat McManus.
Mom read from Walter Wangerin a chapter out of The Ragman and Other Cries of Faith. We shared a bit then pulled out the hymnals and sang awhile together. I asked Dad to quote one of his memorized passages of scripture to us - he does it with such expression! My sister, Jenn, had brought a Tolkien book and read a moving excerpt about Frodo and Sam in memory of how much we had enjoyed hearing Dad and Mom read it aloud to us in our youth. Then in typical Dad style - he announced that he needed to get going as he and Barry would like to go to the evening church service.
It made me think of the day about a week ago when he and Mom had been to the doctor and gotten the news that his lung cancer was quite advanced and no more testing would be done and hospice was called in. Mom, Joan and I were sitting visiting with Dad at the kitchen table after his nap. We shared a bit and cried a bit and talked about his cancer,Joan's upcoming trip, and various other things, then after about 20 minutes, Dad pushed back his chair and said, "Well, I think I'll get back to work..." and he headed out to the new addition and began working.
He looked so good today I could almost forget that he is dying. What a heritage Mom and Dad have given us!! Hours and hours reading and singing and traveling and talking. Memories to hang on to and a legacy to pass on to our own children. Today was a day of celebrating that legacy. I will store it away and bring it out to brighten some day yet to come.