Monday, January 28, 2008


I admire people who are fluent in more than one language. My father was persistent in demanding that we speak German in our home. I resisted this strongly, and it became a point of continual contention. As I look back from this vantage point, I realize the wisdom of it all and am grateful that I can still understand and speak (although not fluently) my mother tongue. Oh how I wish I knew more languages!
Which brings me to the point of this blog. I have had several comments in response to my blogs in a language that I can't read, & it is bugging me. Can anyone interpret for me? Go to Dec. 3rd...."Busy,Busy" Blog.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Uncle Herman

What a Character! Bushy eyebrows, long nose, and a funny "huh,huh" little laugh. I can still see him sitting in his favorite spot at the local donut place. "Well, fancy meeting you here," he would say. (I think I was his favorite niece.) He often told me, "I drove your mom to the neighboring little prairie town hospital before you were born. Lucky you didn't arrive early, on the way,huh,huh."

He never seemed to be in a hurry and loved to just "shoot the breeze", talk "prophecy" or politics, but was sadly lacking in style, social graces, education and parenting skills. He lived in the same rural community for sixty years and his farms are still recognizable by a perimeter of planted evergreens with naked, pruned trunks.

But, there was another amazing side to his personality. He had a heart for the underdog, the socially overlooked, the widower, the disabled, the slightly weird. He touched a lot of lives in his own unique way.

Whenever we would meet him at the coffee place, he always had a friend with him.... an old bachelor, a neighbour, a brother-in-law or someone who needed a ride. After his wife passed away, he would often drive his little pickup truck to the donut place for breakfast, lunch and dinner. When the waitresses saw him coming, they would have his "usual" waiting when he entered the door.
On the day of his funeral, no-one was allowed to sit at his table, because there was a floral arrangement placed on it that said,"In memory of our friend, Herman."
We all touch a circle of people in our own unique way, that nobody.....nobody else does.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Oh, the Aches & Pains!

When my parents would sit and visit with their guests and talk about their aches & pains, I thought, "How boring. Get a Life!"

Reflecting on a recent visit, I realized that most of our conversation was also concerning health issues. (gettin' old)

One person mentioned kidney stones which led to "My neighbour's uncle had that too..." another started on clogged arteries ..."Do you know, I just heard that my cousin's sister-in-law's mother had surgery on that very same thing..." I think I have arthritis in my left shoulder... Well, you should take calcium with glucosomine, that helped my Aunt Martha.. Oh no. You should drink this juice that only costs fifty dollars a bottle. Cures everything that ails you. etc.etc.

Further animated discussion ensued regarding good or bad cholesterol, under or overactive thyroid which could cause anything from shingles, hives, acne or high blood pressure. We covered everything from diabetis, prostate, tumors, bunions, varicose veins, glocoma to ingrown toenails. Some felt the need to fill me in on all the gory details of their latest procedures and surgeries. We also had all the answers and solutions to our inadequate medical system.
(exaggeration included)
It really seems quite funny at times, but to each person who lives with the agony of pain, waiting for test results, the fear of some serious hospital's anything but comical. (and I'm the biggest wimp of them all) Pain is never a welcome visitor, but it governs our days and the extent of our activities. It's hard to be joyful or pleasant to live with or even civil, when something is hurting.

However, pain is part of life in this broken world and a reminder that our bodies are so very mortal and temporal, especially as we get older. If we never experienced pain, we would not ever want to leave this world.
My heart aches for so many of my family and friends who live with constant pain. Some are walking through, what must seem like a long, deep valley. I admire your courage and strength. Hold on tight to the shepherd's hand for He will lead us through to the other side.

How beautiful heaven will hospitals, no pain, no suffering.