Saturday, June 12, 2010


I finally get to sit down. Today was a really busy day. I woke up early and went into work to get some things ready for the upcoming busy start of summer hours before my students arrived. Work went smoothly - the students are great.

Rushed home from work to pile into the van with my parents and younger siblings to head to a family reunion of sorts and see relatives I haven't seen in a while. It was a lot of fun to hear the stories. My grand uncle Randy commiserated with me on the ankle injury. It seems that when he was installing coke machines at a new restaurant for work one year he had slipped on ice and broke his ankle. Said the popping sound sounding like a 22 going off. Then my grand aunt Ree (I think that's how she's related to me) was telling me about the cougar that had wandered onto her property. She was going out to get the mail with her dog when she saw a cougar lying beside her driveway. She called her dog back and the dog came running, but so did the cougar. Bit the dog's head and Ree's reaction was to kick the cougar in the head. She didn't want it to get her dog. The cougar let go, the dog ran into the house, and Ree's initial instinct was to turn around and run into the house to, but then she thought better and started waving wildly and screaming at the cougar. It backed up about 15 yards and just stared at her. She slowly walked into the house and reported the attack to the game warden who said it was highly unusual for a cougar to act that way and granted permission to dispose of it if they should see it again. She was telling me she has pictures of it now, because the next morning it was down by the river on their property and her husband shot it. Her dog is fine. Healing from teeth marks on top of her head, behind her ear, and one in her lip/cheek. Played a washer game in which my grandmother and Ree claimed that they'd do horrible because they can't see well and ended up not doing half bad. Watched Jeffrey and Kandra chase each other around the Usk Lodge. Steven tried to join in and totally tripped. Cousin Kelli (technically she's my first cousin once removed, but cousin is easier to say) rode out on her Harley and when she started it up it scared Jeffrey. By later in the afternoon he was able to over come his fear and Kelli let him sit on it and even rev the engine. He was beaming with happiness. Steven on the other hand ran screaming and crying the second that engine started and jumped anytime any engine started after that. We tried to get him close to the motorcycle once it was off, but he wanted nothing to do with it.

Then we got home with enough time for Mom to change and me to go drop Dad off so that he could pick up his car, before Mom and I needed to be at the church with the goodies she had baked for Sandie's funeral. She was a beautiful woman. A great mother and friend to many. I didn't know her well, but I do know that she always had a smile for me each Sunday. She's the Mother of our worship director Ed. A really fun guy who I think inherited a lot of his love of life and music from his Mom. Turns out she's also the Grandmother of a gal I went to school with and ran into today. I'll have to catch up with Jamie sometime soon. Anyway, Sandie was a published poet and just loved to write poetry. They shared two really wonderful poems of hers in the program and I really want to write them down here.


This child....
Born into September winds.
Dakota dust in her bones
and cradled in sweet prairie grass.
Into winter skies she sang her song;
danced barefoot through spring rain;
tasted the joy of summer's freedom.

This child...
Saw in her mother's eyes
the histories of family and smiled
while in her father's arms - held high,
the stars grew bright
and with her baby fingers
touched tomorrow.

By S.M. Garvas"


From very near I heard the cries
storming sterile rooms
and coming to rest at last on my abandoned belly.
I saw you all...
each face a wrinkled miracle.
There was promise and continuation
while I counted fingers and toes;
my love already nine months comfortable within me.
I searched out separate souls, divided by years,
versioned them limitless...
then waited as each journey began.

First... You.
Silently touching beauty, becoming quietly strong.
Fragile grace and blue moonlight shine from you.
You are cold days, chocolate candy
and carnations in a crystal vase.
You are crisp lettuce and winter snows.
You are perfection personified.
You move through moods like cars on the freeway,
always in motion with tears forever near the surface.
You are stubborn like the grass
clinging to life at desert's edge.
And you are woman.

There was love then... and You.
Oh the smiles that came from your soul!
They touched me with brown velvet
and warmed my weary spirit.
You are summer storms
filled with lightning and crashing thunder.
You are penny arcades, pizza parlors
and pride wrapped in cellophane.
You are salt and pepper and Halloween.
Holding tightly to the child in you,
you grope towards manhood, unafraid... risking.

You came then... riding a raindrop.
Quiet and sure like the steady rain of Fall.
You filled my life with shades of summer green.
You are curiosity and macaroni and cheese.
You are books and school and English tea.
You wear a ready laugh like an extra pocket
and can see smiles everywhere.
You carry comfort and caring and an absent-mindedness
born of tenacious concentration.
You totter on the brink of adolescence.
The awareness growing strong in you.

Sunshine bubbled in through the keyhole and there You were.
Anxious to love and laugh.
You rushed at life like a mountain stream
Tumbling towards low ground in the springtime.
You are the orange-red of fireworks;
The music half hidden in the embers.
You are Yogurt and cheese and the mouse in my heart.
You are giggles and marbles and mess.
You are Christmas with a coke in your hand.
You are eternal questions and dirt on Sunday pants.
You run after the rest, impatient to be always bigger,
and the taste of life is especially sweet for you.

Now the time has moved.
I have watched you all grow.... traveling in this
uncertain, unsettled space.

Four gifts... giving pride and joy...
surprise and affection; unquestioned acceptance,
and total tolerance;

Infecting all with your zest for living.
When the earth has gone black
and only pale shafts of dust remain...

The colors of your souls will still dance
in that softer, shadowy playground.

And in this end time the last whispering
ghosts in the Universe
will know as I do now...

The world is richer because of you.

By S. M. Gavras 1978"

Just like she had written on Easter Sunday - Sandie is now dancing with the Lord. I think the Pastor put it best when he said, "her address has just changed. When a friend moves, we cry because we miss them, but we know we will see them again. This is no different." {I don't claim to have a perfect memory, but that was the gist of it.} The service was beautiful. I'm sure Sandie was smiling down as her son played for her. Amazing Grace made me cry. That's the song they started with and that was the song that I insisted I needed to sing at Mikey's funeral. I had to give him that gift - even though it was hard not to break down as I sang. Mikey's dancing too. Who knows, he may have pulled out a violin to play while Sandie dances. They are both in the Lord's loving arms.

May your life be filled with joy and the little moments and may God's love shine upon you.

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