Greg Tuke called today and offered his condolences and said he remembers Mom for her strength and spunkiness, and her great cooking. He asked me to pay his respects.
I was at work when Randy called to invite us to a Halloween party. Carol told him the news and he was sad. He said Mom was a pistol, no more like a shotgun! And please pay his respects at the funeral.
I would have told him that we are not having a funeral but a celebration of life. A full, wonderful, and devoted life. Good things all come to an end, eventually, and bad things too.
No one lives forever.
The only sure thing in life is death.
From dust to dust.
Mom wanted to live as long as Nana. And even though I never heard her say that, I knew that she had hoped too.
But many things are best measured by their quality, not their quantity, and Mom most definitely had a quality life. She loved every minute, every day. Every sunset, every shower, every blossom every spring.
So what things did Mom love?
My Fair Lady
Red ripe tomatoes
Fresh green basil
A relaxing sail
A good doubles match
A night on Bald Mountain
Sewing a swim suit
Laps at the Y
Winning at bridge with Dad
Flicking shrimp heads
Dad’s cornmeal cakes
Tom’s green thumb
Susan’s unfaltering love
Mom loved to travel and she and Dad bagged most of the planet together. They were planning more trips. They were coming to Tucson in the spring and were hoping to go sailing in the Sea of Cortez.
Moms competitive nature was notorious…tennis, sailing bridge. Watch out if you’re a gangly 17 year old trying to get a point in singles from your 40 y.o. Mom.
Aw darn, not again!
And she almost always came home with the turkey.
She loved to sing and had a sweet yet robust voice, perfect pitch. She could break into song at the least provocation and was not afraid to sing anywhere or anytime: in the car on the way to Colorado, on the Radiant at dock, around many a campfire.
I think her favorite instrument was piano, and even though she never played she loved hearing Susan and subsequent Morehouses tickle those ivories. 8 and 88. She also had an affection for the trumpet, and certainly had many doses over the years of quality horn playing. She never tired of listening and enjoyed being a “band groupie.”
And her garden. She loved her garden. Tomatoes, basil, cukes, zukes, yellow crook necks, kale, sage and horseradish to name a few. She knew how to use it all and was a master at food storage, the art of “putting food by”. What she couldn’t grow she bought from one of several small local stands. She always said nothing but healthy food came from your own garden. Good advice.
And she loved to work the dirt with her bare hands, felt it was “therapeutic”. And now having worked my own a few years, I thinks she was right there too.
And Dad…she loved Dad…57 years of putting up with each other’s idiosyncrasies and devoted to each other’s wellbeing and pleasure…for better or for worse. Til death due us part. She always thought Dad was so handsome, though I failed to see it. That must have been a female thing.
As you grow up, marry and begin a family of your own, you realize just how much influence your parents have had on you. Sometimes you sound like them, especially when mad, frustrated or scolding your own. You use expressions and your not sure where they came from... But then you do. Little things like…“twiddle your thumbs” and “knot head” from Dad and “si vous play” and ___ from Mom. But somewhere in my young adult years after leaving home, I realized I knew all the words to all the songs of south pacific. And Music Man. And West Side Story. And countless old campfire songs. She was great with lyrics.
And I’ll never forget the times, when I was not quite school age, she would make me lie down with her for her afternoon nap (Mom was a great napper). Hearing her say before she dropped off to sleep…
Hal, lie still.
Now Mom lies still. Forever.
We will dearly miss her.
I know she is in a better place.
Sweet dreams, Mom.
You are my sunshine…
[ Readings ] [ Hal, Jr. ] [ Susan ] [ Tom ]