Wednesday, August 26, 2009


It's been a few days now since I returned from the funeral. Seeing Uncle Bill was great and my cousins as well. I never knew the rest of my Dad's side of the family as well as I did my Mom's or my Dad's Mom.

The service was in the "small" chapel of a "mega-church". Though beautiful, I couldn't help but wonder how many of the little churches my Grandfather had pastored would have fit inside and what he or Uncle Walter would have thought of it. Grandpa's last church, the one he wasn't supposed to take after he retired, had 13 regular members on the Sunday we attended...

Thinking of the 62 years Uncle Bill and Aunt Frances had together is cause for much reflection. Him at 85 and her at 84, Dottie and I will be almost the same ages should be "make it" that long. Right now at 33 years together, that number seems impossible if only from the viewpoint of longevity!

My parent's 60th would have been next year had cancer not claimed Dad in '83. I'm not sure what he'd have done when Mom's MS progressed to the point it is least Uncle Bill got to keep Aunt Frances at home despite the Alzheimer's she had developed.

Uncle Bill lost a kidney a few years ago to kidney cancer; now it seems his remaining one is shutting down and he has to decide whether he wants to spend 4 hours a day at the hospital 3 days a week for dialysis as he isn't a candidate for doing it at home. Though healthy in every other way and seemingly in good spirits, I fear learning what his decision will be.

The trip to Oklahoma and back was interesting; they are replacing the old 2 lane state highway with 4 lane. Much of it lies parallel to a railroad right-of-way still in use. In places the old telegraph poles still run alongside the rails, wires drooping or on the ground in places, poles listing like drunken sailors after a long voyage as they rot away, some lying all the way down, others held in mid-air by the wires they were supposed to be holding, the glass insulators so prized a few years ago still atop them. The tracks are 2-4 feet above the old highway surface; standard practice to save a railbed in case of flooding.

The new highway is 2 to 15 feet above the railbed!

If that southeast corner of Kansas ever floods high enough to need that elevation, there will be a new Great Lake in the Midwest! As flat as it is (the rolling hills don't start 'til north of Chanute) 3 or 4 feet of water will spread for miles...

The juxtaposition of old against new was much in evidence these last few days...old windmills long forgotten along with barns, fences and silos against the newer rural water towers and newer homes in places.

Old row motels abandoned along with service stations...

Santa Fe #1079 sitting at Coffeyville for all the world like she's just waiting for someone to wake up and quit burning oil...

I wonder what my grandkids will see if they retrace these steps in 40 years?

May the week be kind to each of you...



Riot Kitty said...

The trip sounds bittersweet indeed.

Green tea said...

I am glad you had a safe trip.
We have spent a lot of time this past summer attending funerals.
I guess it is part of life.
I only have one Uncle and one Aunt
left, both in their 80's.
What surprises me is the huge number of young relatives suffering from chronic illness.
There are several that may pass on before the elders.
Because of this my daughter threw a
large family party early August so we could all be together for happy memories.

ryssee said...

Glad you made it there and back safely. It's funny the things that strike you to really see, and think about, when you've attended the funeral of a loved one.
Your Uncle Bill and Aunt Frances had such a long life together. Bless them. I hope you and Dottie get to make it that long together too. Please don't fear his decision. But as you said, make those calls, visits, cards. Hugs.

chrissie said...

Alan, I am sorry to hear of this...

I'm afraid I've been remiss in not catching up on other's blogs lately.

My condolences to you and your family, cariad.


CrackerLilo said...

It's what we all want, isn't it? Lifetime love. I'm sorry theirs had to end anyway. I'm sure it's hit your Uncle Bill hard. My condolences to you all.

I'm sorry he's doing badly, too. My great-aunt had lots of health problems after her husband of over 60 years died. The mind and body are so connected! She's doing a bit better now, at 89. I hope your uncle improves, too.

Glad you're back, anyway. Funerals definitely provide an occasion for the living to reflect.

Damienzchance said...

My Grandeparents were married for 55 years when my papaw gave up his fight w/Alzheimer's, or "Long-term, short-term" memory loss as my Granny would correct me. It was only 2 short year's after he passed that she lost her battle w/cancer. We learned she was fighting it while papaw was living. Seh went had sergery first, and then took one round of chemo-radiation treatment, and decided she didn't want anything more to do w/it. If I has the opportunity to take care of her while she was sick, she would have died in her own home, instead of the guest bedroom at my aunt's.

You say you have been married for 33 ears, to me that is amazing!!! Marriage is so difficult, no one seems to honour the reality of there vows anymore.

thank you for giving me a glimps into your world wind, it is inspiring.

Stephanie said...

When I saw Patty Lou's doctor Tuesday, she first couldn't believe that we'd been married for 36 years. Then she seemed bewildered that we are staying together with my transition going on. Doesn't anyone understand what love means, or vows of, 'til death do us part?

The first funeral I went to I was about 8. It scared me so much that the next two for my grandparents, I was so drunk and high I don't remember them. My parents were cremated. I hope the next funeral I go to is my own. That would mean my wife, children, and grandchildren would all be living.

Sorry for your loss.

Anji said...

Thank you for sharing your journey. They just cleared away the last little windmill near to here, looks like it will be new houses. The ground was used for allotments and the windmill to draw water, I think. They used to sell chrysanthemums for All Saints Day. I suppose they couldn’t compete with the big supermarket near by.

Chandira said...

Sounds like an interesting journey across country! Sorry it had to be for such a sad reason...

GirlWhoShould said...

A nice journey. Sorry to hear of your loss. I apologise for late response as well.
Lucy x

Puffer said...

I am sorry to hear of your loss. I drove from Arizona to Oaklahoma a few years ago and loved it. It was such a great trip! Hugs from us xooxxo