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Friday, June 11, 2010
Gathering Thoughts in MN...
I'm writing from my Aunt's house in Maple Grove, MN.
It's wonderful to be with family, even during such a difficult time as saying good bye to a loved one.
I was met at the airport by my 2 crazy Aunts who I love dearly. My mom is the oldest child, and has 3 siblings, and we are a crazy bunch!
My mom's flight didn't arrive from Idaho until a couple hours later, so we could do one of two things...go to Mall of America (been there, done that!!) or go wander around IKEA!! IKEA won out, and we had a great time looking at goo gahs and doo dads and dreaming of completely gutting our homes and starting fresh with all new furniture and things. What is it about places like that that just make me feel like I need to totally reinvent my house?
IKEA also has a nifty cafeteria with good food at decent prices, so we ate a bit of dinner, picked mom up at the airport.....and because she hadn't eaten yet, we drove her straight to Culvers (oh yes, this was my big fat idea! *LOL*) so she could get something to eat while we all topped off our IKEA meal with peanut butter cup custard, the flavor of the day!
It's so fun to see how my mom interacts with her sisters. Funerals are hard, and sad, but they do bring us together and family ties are strengthened and enriched.
In the van on the way to my Aunt's house, I was asked if I would play the piano for Grandpa's memorial service. (!!!!!) Let's just say that I hadn't really played for a few years. When we moved to NC, the piano did NOT come with me because there was no room for it, but after missing it more than I thought I would, I bought a yamaha electric piano last year. However, you know how good intentions go....if you've followed my teaching schedule you'll know that there has been NO TIME for any piano practice of any kind, so it's sat there....(sometimes buried in fabric and projects! OH NO!!!)
Of course, I said yes, I would play. Sheet music was located. A trumpet player was going to accompany me, and arrangements were made for us to practice before the viewing, before the service. It all came together.
I think I mentioned before that my Grandpa loved to play his trumpet. So it was very touching to have someone playing trumpet in honor of Grandpa. I was also involved in helping write up Grandpa's life sketch, and it turned out that I was designated to be the reader at the service, because I was probably the only one who could get through it without bawling. Something about being one generation removed I think...My aunts, my mom, and my uncle all didn't want to be the one to do it. So..tada. In helping to write his life down, I learned so much! I feel so much closer to him now that I know what his youth was like, surviving through polio at age 3. His early years working his way through dental school, starting his practice in Brewster, MN...accepting chickens, eggs, and produce in payment for services rendered...this was my Grandpa.
I learned about what things were like as my mom and her siblings grew up, and what life in Minneapolis was like during the 50's and 60's before I came around.
I met some of my mom's cousins and highs school friends....and it was just wonderful. Our bodies might get old, but the people we are inside them are still the same. It's fun to see my mom giggle with her girlfriends. She has a lunch date planned with this group of high school friends later in her visit here.
(This is getting really disjointed, but this is what is coming off the top of my head)
Grandpa played trumpet in big bands, and just loved jazz and jitterbug and all of those old big band favorites. His nickname was "Hot Lips". And it is so sweet to hear other people he knew reminiscing of things they remember about my Grandpa and his music.
We had the softer big band sounds (Think string of pearls) playing as prelude, and when the service ended and the people were filing out, the music changed to more peppy sounds of songs that Grandpa loved, as in A-Train. I just love big band music and always have because of my Grandpa.
Grandpa would have really gotten a KICK out of this service and the stories that were told. And there were smiles and laughter all the way to the cemetery......there were BALLOONS all along the route!! (Someone had a 5k run for charity or something and their were helium balloons all along the route...rainbows of balloons!) and we thought Grandpa would have even loved to know that it was like a parade going to his resting place.
It was very touching there at the grave side, seeing his name and his dates finally added to the shared headstone with my grandmother who passed away in 1966 when I was only 4. The sentiment Grandpa had chosen himself for the headstone was "Together Forever" and it just felt like finally this piece had been put in it's right place. It was just such an emotional day.
I haven't spent much time quilting, needless to say, but now that the funeral is past, we can get rid of the "eral" and just leave the "FUN" and have some of our own. We plan on relaxing and enjoying each other and since extended family had come in for the services, we are throwing together another family reunion BBQ of sorts for Saturday and make the most of this that we can. My cousin Bethany is also graduating from High School herself on Sunday, so this is a memorable time to be here.
Still have those pics from the spiderweb workshop to upload..but this is already extra long, so I think I'll have time to write another post tomorrow.
I've been thinking of a phrase that was spoken at the service yesterday "We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience."
I think that also can be said about our quilting!
Do quilts happen while life is going on around us? Or does life happen while we are quilting through it?
Quipped by Bonnie K Hunter at 11:27 AM