47 years ago on this date, my mother passed away at home with my father by her side. She had been sick so long we had started praying for what was best for her instead of asking for her to get better. I was in the upstairs bathroom and could hear my father through the open register to the kitchen below when he called the local funeral home director. It was about five in the morning. He said, “Gene, this is George, I hate to ruin your first day of deer season, but I need you to come pick up my wife.”
The first day of deer season was always a big deal in our house. One of my cousins, some of his friends, and other neighbors gathered super early at our place to make the plan of where to hunt, who was going to drive the area (means walk through the fields and woods to make the deer move) and who was going to be stationed to shoot. It was in the days before tree stands were popular. There were usually homemade cookies ready and lots of hot coffee. My cousin did appear that morning, found out the family news and left. I still don’t know if he went home or to the woods.
When someone in your life dies, there is a void because no more memories can be made. You can’t pick up the phone and call that person, they aren’t there to answer. In my case, there was no one there when I got home from school anymore. I was a senior. My sister had moved home to help, but she was at work at 3 pm and my father worked evenings. I don’t tell you this in search of sympathy, but because I have never written it before.
The event changed my life in many different ways. I recently reconnected with a school chum I hadn’t talked to in 45 years. She told me she didn’t know what to say to me at the time, so she quit talking to me. Now I understand why it seemed my friends distanced themselves that last year of school. I had always thought it was me who moved away from them because now I was different.
When I sat down to write this, I was going to tell you about my mother who taught pie-making to the 4-H club, (pictured above-1960). I was going to tell you she did copper tooling and made wallets and belts out of leather. She had a great friend, Doris, that caned chairs with her and made fresh pine bough Christmas wreaths. Mom read a lot and taught me to look things up for myself. She also made the prettiest decorated birthday cakes. I can picture one of my own that had sky blue-pink roses and ribbons on it. So many memories, but the list is nowhere near long enough to be “normal,” whatever normal is.
My sisters and I are getting together for the weekend and we are taking a family friend we haven’t seen in over 40 years to lunch. I hope the restaurant doesn’t close after lunch because we will still be reminiscing and could probably stay through supper. It will be a great weekend of memory making and remembering.