Thanksgiving 2020 (*not* woodworking)

We were all set for a typically wonderful Thanksgiving, beginning with acting out my outlaw nature by traveling across state lines in open and willful disregard for the edicts from the Panic Porn Peddlers of the Covidian Cult.   We arrived at dottir’s house on Tuesday with a good weekend planned of eating a farm-fresh turkey and fixin’s and celebrating our thankfulness, along with a large dose of house and yard work.

That changed when we got “the call” just before lunch time Wednesday while I was up on the ladder; my Mom was declining precipitously and asking for us to be at her side.  So we jumped into the car and headed south for fifteen hours, arriving after dawn on Thanksgiving Day and just as she was about to leave the realm of awareness.  What followed was 48 hours of our company  rotating through her bedroom, sitting and chatting with her, singing hymns, reading Psalms and other passages, holding her hand and stroking her face and hair punctuated by visits from numerous farewell-wishers.  Though there was unmistakable sadness at her impending separation from us, there was even more joy and dare I say laughter in our recollections of life with her and Dad and together.

Mom with the Elvis impersonator (he is a family friend) at her 92nd birthday party in 2009.

She left her worn out almost-104-year-old body behind at 8:10 PM Saturday, with its lung disease, blindness, and hardness of hearing, and put on a glorious incorruptible body in Paradise where she is in the direct presence of The Creator and The Redeemer, probably holding my Dad’s hand after 17 years of separation.  Her final breath was in the presence of my sister and brother, since we had already begun our trip back to Shangri-la.

Yes, I was the victim of a loving and Godly upbringing in an intact nuclear family.  So sue me.

One quick story captures the character of my mom perfectly.  My folks were traditionalists in music, with the home being graced mostly with hymns and classical music from the Record of the Month Club (Dad was the pastor, she was the church organist).  I diverged somewhat from that menu, and when as a young teen I started to mix in some fairly divergent music (what was with the Gregorian chants and Modern Jazz Quartet and John Coltrane and Miles Davis?) into the playlist they were not sure what to make of it, but as long as there were no objectionable lyrics they let me follow my own path.  They often joked that my taste in music proved they brought home the wrong kid from the hospital.  Just before I moved out in 1974 I was listening to The Mahavishnu Orchestra at substantial volume in my room.  I must’ve lost track of time  — how could you not when listening to the Inner Mounting Flame album? — but I failed to turn down the volume so when my mom arrived home from work the house was a-rockin’.  Polyrhythmically.  She knocked on my door and popped her head in, asking me to turn it down.  Then after a few seconds of listening asked, “Are they all playing the same song?”  When I assured her they were, she just shrugged and shook her head with a bewildered smile and chuckle then backed out, closing the door.  Checking in, but giving me room to breathe my own air.

Farewell, Mom.  I will join you and Dad in Paradise whenever my appointed time comes