Thursday, November 19, 2009

Southbound Feb 06

Feb 10, '06


Life is a trip and we all remember the good times and yet we all have many, many bad times. Our faith in God has been the only thing that has kept us going many times. When my stepson, Greg, died in my arms life changed , for us forever. A big chunk of our family was gone. Ripped away by a divine force that we do not understand nor have I ever questioned why. I just asked to be lead and said I’d follow. When Sally had her stroke and I was in route to the hospital. I did not even try to bargain with God. I just said I’d follow. He saw to it that a miracle happened and that with in a few days she was released with only minor problems. We spent 3 months with mother in FL at the onset of her Alzheimer’s. Just trying to understand the disease and trying to get the rest of the family to understand she needed help. She is now in a facility and appears to be doing well. She’ll probably out live all of us.

Now a different disease has hit the family again , cancer, the BIG C. My Uncle Richard Lamy, in CA has just had his 25th cancer operation. He survived and they said they got all of the disease but because of other complications he lost a leg. With his sense of humor he says he is now Ricardo “Stumpy” Lamy. His wife Gloria has congestive heart disease so that makes 2, in wheel chairs at their home in Shingle Springs, Ca.

In 1953 or 54 I met a fellow student at Waterford High School. He was a tall skinny dude with a slightly southern accent as his folks were out of N. Carolina. He became acquainted with my sister Sandra and the rest is history as they say. His career was aviation aircraft/engine mechanic-technician or whatever you call it. He ended his career several years ago (retired) with Gerber Baby Foods as their lead mechanic on their airplanes.

Late this summer he lost the use of his left hand and a weakness in his left leg. He was learning to deal with that and then the big bomb, his stroke was diagnosed as a brain tumor. Now things have gone down hill drastically. He did get to spend Thanksgiving with his mother and 3 sons in N. Carolina and admits in all probability he’ll never make it back

Why am I telling you this. You say. “I have my own problems our family is no different than yours“. It has been said that if “Darrell didn’t have bad luck, he’d have none at all“. It all started this fall when we didn’t get paid for the last month that we worked. That money had been earmarked for our winter fuel and truck maintenance. We thought that we had a job in the U.P. and that didn’t work out. I sent out over 100 resumes and didn’t get but 1 reply. That was a no.

I had a woman call me from Santa Fe but she was worried about Sally getting dizzy, it was just an excuse as I was the one applying for a job. One in GA wanted to know if I’d do roof repair & etc so we didn’t get that one.

We celebrated Thanksgiving with our families and decided to leave Nov 27. Now we didn’t know where we were going to go, either Texas or Florida. We decided to start south and about Indianapolis call a man in Florida that was interested and if that didn’t work out we’d head toward Texas. Guess what? Florida said the first of the year before they’d make their decision. Two miles down the road we get a call from Craig, CO. KOA. Not to bad a position but the average temperature there in the winter is in the teens. Sally said NO. Well we started the Southwesterly trek and decided to see Walt & Sue in Weubleau, MO. (pronounced Wo Blow)

Nov 29, 2006

It was nice pulling into their little farm and seeing smiling faces again. It didn’t take to long to get all set up and then Walt says," you’re going to be here for awhile". A big ice/snow storm is headed our way so you’re stuck. Come to find out several inches of snow is forecast with a little freezing rain first and then bitterly cold. It is forecast for as far south as San Antonio, TX. We can’t outrun it so we’ll stay for a few days, I guess.

We just got a disturbing phone call from my sister. She was in the ER room with Jim. Evidently he had allergic reaction to his Chemo and started to seizure & etc. She was nice enough to call and now I’m sitting here thinking, should we go back, or what?

Saturday, December 2, 2006

Gosh I didn’t realize that it was December already. The freezing rain came in with a vengeance. Only about a ¼ inch but enough so that the awnings over the slide out froze solid. I wanted to run the slid-outs in so that the snow buildup wouldn’t be stretching out the awnings as much. It was a good thought and the snow came anyway. One foot (12 inches) of the white NOT really fluffy type of snow. It’s not wet either just old fashioned snow. With temperatures in forecast in the single digits. Missouri snow plows are for the interstates as we haven’t seen any yet and it has been two days. Like most Missourian’s, Walt’s Blazer needs tires and he is unable to traverse his driveway. The driver’s side of our pickup has about 1 ½ inches of ice holding the doors closed not going anyplace anyway as I can’t retract out the slide/outs and the roads have not been plowed and are definitely ice covered and treacherous. Last night the temp was 5 degrees and tonight they’re calling for mid 20’s. Monday in the 40’s and then in the 30’s for the rest of the week. You’d think with the ground not frozen the snow would be “settling”. It is still about 10 inches deep but slowly melting underneath. This snow will surely help out the water table as precipitation is/was several inches below normal. All of the schools, churches, and a lot of businesses are closed on account of the weather. Of course with all of the modern day technology there is no mail delivery

I’ve been trying to stay in contact with my sister Sandra. She is busy taking care of Jim. They now have made the decision to go for quality of life so there’ll be no more Chemo. Our hands are tied down here in Missouri and if I was up in Michigan what more could I do?

Here it is 5 AM and I’m not sleeping. A head cold, nerves about unemployment and family health problems all play a part in a healthy goodnights sleep. I make up my mind that if we can get the truck out to the road we’re going back to MI. I have to go and get two tanks of propane for the furnace. We’re going to leave the heat on low while we’re gone to Michigan. We don’t leave for the trip home until about 11 AM. It is a long ride home. The miles go by so slowly yet the time goes so fast.

One of the things I did do before we left MO. was detune the truck. A couple of years ago I put in a Super Chip and it sure helped with the towing. But now that we won’t be towing I’ll tune it back to stock and take the better mileage. Our MPG has increased tremendously on the way home but, the price of diesel keeps going up & up. We stop in Benton Harbor, MI to clean up and take a nap and then are back on the road by 4 AM. At 8 AM we’re pulling into Hesperia and I take another nap. About 11 AM I call my sister and she says come on down. The 15 minute drive to her place is excruciatingly long. When we enter Hospice is there cleaning Jim up so I wait a few minutes until I can go see him. Jim is close to death but peaceful in looks and actions. I talk to him and he opens his eyes and a noise escapes his lips. I know he knows I’m there. The vigil of the day long wait is unimaginable as his friends come into their residence to pay their final respects.

His # 3 son John drives in from Florida about 5PM and you can hear a pin drop as he walks up to his dad’s bed. Again, Jim knew John was there. # 1 son Jimmie has been there almost continuously since dad was bed ridden and # 2 son Jeff isn’t flying in for another day. Jeff and his dad had said their goodbyes while in N. Carolina the week before. Now Jim has heard his sons and whoever else came in during the day. The breathing is more labored and yet shallower at the same time. At about 7:30 I tell Sally it is time for us to go. Jim is breathing his last and the family needs to be together. We drive the short drive home and a little after 8 PM we get the call that Jim is gone.

Thursday December 7, 2005

Jeff with his wife and 4 children have now flown in from Florida and are ensconced in the motel in Fremont. We have to take the dog in to the groomers at 10AM so we continue on to my sister Sandra’s house and meet all of the kids. At 1PM we’re going to the nursing home as a group to tell mother about Jim. Whether she remembers it overnight or not is something to be seen.

Jim’s Mother Ginny lives in N. Carolina and a family friend has given her the news. She is unable to make the trip but is assured there will be a memorial in the spring for her only child.

Friday, December 8, 2006

Today is another coooold day in Hesperia. The temperature is hovering between 0 & 10 above and it is only December. Jim’s Funeral is going to be Sunday at the Methodist church where he’d been a member for 40 some years. That will give time for the relatives from Quebec, Ohio, Oklahoma & etc to all get here. Tomorrow, Saturday, is going to be visitation.

I cannot say I like funerals but it is, sometimes, the only place where you’ll see some of your relatives. Also funerals are for the living. The deceased has done all of the good or all of the damage that they could do.

Saturday December 9th 2006

As I said earlier funerals (including visitation) is a reunion of sorts. Where good times and sometimes, the bad times are remembered. People I hadn’t seen in30 to 40 years came into pay their respects to the family. After visitation a “circle of love” was done. Where everybody could set in a large circle and talk about Jim & his sense of humor. Jim had a real sense of humor and he had a nickname for everybody, it seemed. People sat there and told of their nickname and some of how they even got it. Probably upwards of 100 people sat in the circle and under the direction of their friend and former pastor Bert VerMeulen and gave their stories. It was an enjoyable 1 ½ hours as they all laughed and cried about Jim & his humor.

Sunday December 10th 2006

A beautiful day the sun was shining and melting some of the last 6 or 8 inches of fresh fallen snow. The grandkids from Florida had been playing around and basically enjoying themselves up until today. The funeral service was planned ahead of time by Jim and really went quite well. The preacher put into a story the facts of Jim and his life. Complete with a list of nicknames that could be remembered. My sister Karen sang a song as only she could and I gave a eulogy which went

“ In 1953 or 54 I met a fellow student at Waterford High School. He was a tall skinny dude with a slightly southern accent as his folks were out of N. Carolina. He was neat to be around and his dad had a airplane.

The first time I met him he was a rider in either “Headhunters” or my car. Those of you who knew Jim know that he had a nickname for everybody he met, it seemed. I learned that first evening that Jim hated flies and had a good eye for spotting cop cars. If there was a fly around you might as well stop the car and let him get it. Headhunter whose real name was Bob Kinney was almost like a brother to Jim. They were a year older and let me hang around them. Now this was in the fabulous fifties and things were a little slower back then. Jim & Headhunter got a job at a place at the Pontiac Airport and they got me a job there. I didn’t last long. The name of the of the business was Ferry Service Inc. I found out you weren’t supposed to answer the phone Hello, Ferry Service 3rd Ferry speaking.

Jim & I were playing pool in the basement of my folks home when Sandra first saw Jim. She went upstairs and told mom I’m going to marry him. He became acquainted with my sister Sandra and the rest is history, as they say.

His career was aviation aircraft/engine mechanic-technician or whatever you call it. He ended his career several years ago (retired) with Gerber Baby Foods as their lead mechanic on their airplanes. He and Sandra moved around a bit but finally ended up with Gerbers.

He told me about a job and I came up and started delivering fuel oil & gasoline. About then Jim acquired his nickname PM. A lot of you probably didn’t know that did you? I don’t know if his kids gave him the nickname or his fellow employees out at the airport. Oh by the way PM stands for Piss & Moan, now I wonder where that came from. Some of you thought it stood for Precision Maniac, didn’t you?

Very meticulous in his work. He was building a new house on Jarrett St. We’re installing the good old fashioned tongue & groove hardwood flooring. Somehow I missed the old nail set and put a heck of a hole in the wall. It was his meticulously finished wallboard wall. I think I ran out the back door on that one. He once tore down a new12 in X 12 in tile ceiling we’d just stapled up because it was a ¼ inch off in the 40ft span of the basement and reinstalled it because he knew it wasn’t right.

He and I made a deal on a motorcycle that he’d rebuilt and it was a sharp old Honda 305. I slipped in the grass and put a dent in the fuel tank and old PM really PM’d on that one, in fact you’ve thought it was still his motorcycle. He and I were laughing about it just a few of weeks ago.

Of course in the 70’s we both had snowmobiles and used to do some riding down near the old Sheridan town ship dump South of 80th. W O Sommer’s used to dump their brine from the olives and maraschino cherry juice in a pit. He called that hole “Virgin Basin” It had a steep embankment and once I made it up and over the edge. He and “Long Stroke” John Griffes kept saying once is luck twice is skill. I never saw anybody laugh so hard at my misery as I lay moaning & groaning at the bottom of the pit after the second try. I still hurt from that one. I’m sure if you see Long Stroke he’ll still laugh at that one.

We had short discussions on music. If it wasn’t classical or long hair, Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass it wasn’t worth listening to, according to him And I’d tell him good old country, mountain music or bluegrass was better because it told it the way it was, needless to say the radio wasn’t on when we were together. The first time we went pheasant hunting the first bird up he blew it from the sky even after “Grandpa Deeky” (That was the name he had given my dad) and I had shouted HEN. I do not think he ever made that mistake again. He used to deer hunt and one day a wounded one gave him the slip and I don’t think he ever hunted deer again.

Some of you might want to know what nickname he gave me. It was “Reggie” after Reginald Van Gleason. You see we had a friend who was a bartender at the Rat Cellar, a place most of you Methodist's know vwry little about, I'm sure, John Gustafson’s nickname was “Sam Ketchum” he worked for the DNR and we helped him “take inventory” one evening during Old Fashioned Days. That was when the Scottville Clown Band and I think the Navy Band were all in town. Somehow my impersonation of Reggie hit the point with old PM. that evening though we were not thought of to well by our wives. Sandra I’d like to tell you right now, it was all Jim’s fault.

Jim won’t have a monument in the village square. He has 3 monuments. His 3 boys all with fine families and upstanding citizens in their own right.

Did we have our differences, does a cow give milk? Of course we did and though we’d drift apart somehow we always found one another. Though he is now gone from earth I know we’ll meet again one of these days I’ll and get a handshake and hug from old PM and I bet old “Headhunter & Sam Ketchum” will be there too.

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