Saturday, October 03, 2015
Last Sunday they held an informal memorial service for my dad at the Cokato Cemetery in Minnesota.
Was a beautiful sunny day.
I talked to Mom that night and she was very happy with the whole day.
People stood up and told stories about Dad.
I wrote a couple memories and Dagan read them for me off his cell phone. :)
Looks like there was a lot of laughing and happy recollections.
Mom spoke, too.
They had a table set up with a few pictures.
Dad's ashes were buried with his hat right on top. I loved that! He didn't go anywhere without his hat. :)
Afterwards they went to The Red Goat.
Pretty silly, eh? White goat with a red beard. Mom says they have good food there.
Ian was one happy boy!
Here's the picture of Mom and Dad--young and in love.
Well, many of you have heard the cottonwood tree story before, but since my mom asked me to post what I wrote for Dagan to read on Facebook I figured I would post it on the blog, too. So here are a couple of Dad Memories:
My early memories of Dad were of his big black lunch pail and goulashes.
We moved to Fridley when I was five years old. One day Dad was pulling weeds around the cement block basement and window-wells of our new house and I came to watch him and ask questions, as was my job. I know I asked enough questions about weeds to find out that this one larger one (that looked like two till Dad pulled it up) was actually a baby tree! I begged him to leave it there to grow. Too close to the house, he said. It tore my heart out to kill a tree.
I missed trees so very much! Fridley was a brand-new, stark-naked suburb--barren--blank. I missed the "old" feeling of North Minneapolis. I dearly missed trees with birds and squirrels.
I begged, pleaded, cried, and promised to water it--until Dad finally agreed to move the sapling. He planted it in the corner of the yard down by the street near the driveway. Just dug a little hole and stuck it in the ground...said he'd just forget and run over it with the mower. No--you won't--you won’t. I could tell he thought it was a foolish thing to do to his brand new sod and figured it would just die anyways or I would forget about it.
But I remember standing guard when he mowed...and carrying glasses of water out to the tree. Dad seemed surprised that it survived. I remember spying one day and seeing him watering that tiny forked tree with the big green hose. So I knew he had been won over. Dad grew careful about mowing around it. I remember how excited I felt when it outgrew me and how annoyed Dad was--every single year--with the sticky pods all over the lawn. (It happened to be a male cottonwood.)
That two-trunked tree stood tall over the neighborhood. Was a landmark for directions. I loved listening to the leaves tremble in the wind and watching them silver-shimmering in the sunlight. It is almost 60 years old--if it is still standing. Towering over the block with deep roots that pushed up the asphalt road a bit along the edge of the yard. That tree and Dad have always been intertwined in my memory.
I also can’t think of color TV without remembering when we got our first one. I may not remember the year but I remember that after it was delivered no one was allowed to touch it until Dad got home from work. Us three kids gathered around on the floor in silent excitement as he plugged it in--knowing we could be banned from the room if we disturbed him while he figured out this thrilling new appliance. He gently moved the console back into place and found the on button. We could hear the tubes warming up and all four of us gasped as Johnny Quest emerged from the blackness in bright-cartoon-living-color!
Of course, Dad--being a lithographer and perfectionist--wanted to find another program that was being broadcast in color (remember the days when only a few programs were in color?) that had real people on the screen so he could adjust the flesh color. We begged him to let us watch the last five minutes of Johnny Quest first. To our amazement--he did--and sat there with us until the cartoon was over. I think he was as blown away by the color as we were.
Dad was notorious for fiddling with the tint to get the flesh tones just right. He’d always tell us, if the flesh tone is right then everything else would be right.
The tint knobs were in the back--obviously to keep mere mortals away from the dials meant for the TV repairman only. But they didn’t know my dad. He’d be on his knees reaching back there turning knobs, asking us if it was better, never taking our word for it, popping his head around...back and forth...back and forth...just generally driving us nuts and making us miss the beginning of shows.
He finally settled down about flesh tones and they didn’t have to be perfect, but I think he hated it when color TVs started being sold with no tint adjustment. There used to be quite an art to the various knob adjustments. As the oldest, long before remotes, I had to learn knob skills.
Dad loved Bonanza, Gunsmoke, Ed Sullivan...and HeeHaw! He loved puns, slap stick humor, and any plays on words. I loved to hear him laugh. I guess that’s how I want to remember him--smiling and laughing.
Love you, Dad.
Because I could not stop for Death—
He kindly stopped for me—
The Carriage held but just Ourselves—
~Emily Dickinson, c.1863