She was 83 years old.
She was a friend of the family. A friend of my parents. She knew my kids...
I met her when I was 6 or 7. She knew all 5 of my brothers and sisters. All younger. ;)
She had 7 kids of her own. 23 grand kids, 22 greats and a great on the way.
I took her daughter's graduation photos, then her wedding photos. I took her youngest daughter's graduation photos. She came to my Confirmation. And my wedding. And the funerals of my parents.
She use to call me from the other side of town. Their water heater wasn't working. Or the stove. Or the furnace. She had 5 sons. I am the same age as her oldest. We grew up together. She didn't call them. She called me. I will admit that she pissed me off a couple of times because there was nothing wrong. She just wanted to talk. Her and Harvey. Her husband since 1951. He has been gone for a bit over two years. Scout leader. Wore his soul and his beliefs on his sleeve. I would get in the car and drive across town. I'd take tools. I'd tinker and then drink coffee and talk. They would ask about my parents, who were in Arizona at the time. Both gone now.
I learned to play checkers in her living room on Avalon. She use to bake oatmeal raisin cookies. We would eat them while they were still warm. She had a crazy laugh. She always had people over.
Her kids didn't treat her well. They were all there today. A lot of family members. Kids. Grands. Greats.
And 7 friends. It made me sad. My wife was working today so I went alone. I talked to everyone. My middle son was on the road. Driving. Hauling a combine to Moorhead. They liked him. He was special to them. I wish he could have been here.
Her and Harvey would sometimes go for a drive and they would end up here, at my house. We would drink coffee and talk. Harvey couldn't drive by then. Shirley shouldn't have. ;) But they got around. Together.
I sang in church today. I go to church regularly. I believe. I rarely sing in church. I leave that to my wife. But today... Today I was alone, so I sang. How Great Thou Art... Not likely going to happen again, anytime soon. It felt right today.
83 years old. Family.
A service that lasted less than an hour, then a committal service at the graveside. 10 minutes.
83 years and that is what it comes to. Family. A few friends. An hour.
I talked to my son a while ago. He is in his sleeper in Grand Meadow. I know he is thinking about Shirley tonight.
Sad that it comes to this. I don't know what would be better...
Whiskey is helping. A little.