This blog is from July 2011…I read it again, what a wonderful memory…some of you may have been to a parade on July 4th…but there are fewer of them than in the past…enjoy this one…hope you had a wonderful 4th and thanked God for our freedom…

Independence Day Parade…A Small Town Parade…I Love That…

In my previous post I put a letter from John Adams to his wife, Abigail…you can go back and read that post if you wish…but let me give you just a part of what I put in that post…it will give you the direction I will go with this bit of Independence Day celebration I have for you…“I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shew, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more. You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means.”…I have left John Adams differences in writing of that time…but it is the heart of the letter that I want to talk about today…to start, I want to ask you a question…when was the last time you went to an Independence Day/July 4th parade???…for some of you…you never miss…for others it is more a “day off” that is celebrated…and that’s okay too…but a parade…a parade…Oh, come on, a parade…there is nothing like a parade…and an Independence Day parade, that is special…

John Adams put it this way at the signing of the Declaration of Independence, before the War for Independence…he put it this way in his letter to Abigail…“I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shew, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”…this was before the Revolutionary War…before as he put it, “the blood, toil and treasure it will cost us”…but though there was much to go through, he knew that this was a great thing…and what it would mean to the future of this country…and he knew that we would always want to celebrate it…and so we have, and so we will…we will do it this weekend…my flags are out…and looking for a parade…there must be one an “old guy” can go to and enjoy…

I remember growing up in the 1950’s…my Dad was just back from his time in the Navy during WWII…he belonged to the American Legion…and they were always in our local parade…every small town seems to have a parade…I have been to many over the years…and when I was young we went to see my Dad march in the parade…they would lead the parade with the flag and march out front…I have a picture of my Dad and the color guard one July 4th parade in the ’50’s…now where is it???…Oh, here ya go…he is the one with the white shirt on…I think he was the commander of the post that year…thus the white shirt and his place in the parade…so I remember those parades in Golden Valley, Minnesota…and they happened in every little town and city across the land…and it happens in many towns today too…

Before we moved to Arkansas we went to a little town in western Minnesota for their Independence Day Celebration…more about that later…but it is still happening there today…one of our sons and his family lived in Prinsburg, Minnesota for a little while…and we went out there (about a three hour trip west, from the Minneapolis area)…Prinsburg is a farming community…with farms right up to the city limits…a beautiful area…population 497, so it does meet the criteria to be a small town…(see Google Earth picture)…if you are unfamiliar with farming communities, you should spend some time in one to get the feel…it is special…Judie, Jeremy and I went there for the celebration about three different years, even after our son and his family moved…Prinsburg seems to have gotten John Adams view of the Independence Day Celebration right…and this year, 2011, they are going about it in the same way…we went out on Saturday though it started on Friday with activities and then Saturday we came about 10:00 so it could be…”commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty.”…Prinsburg starts the day with a worship service with all the flags and patriotic feeling you would want at a service like that…then it is followed by a roast pork dinner (with all the trimmings) at their school, hundreds are served over the two hours…so organized…(it is a private school, Central Minnesota Christian)…and this is a fundraiser for them…farmers supply the pork, the school provides the facilities and the whole town gets involved with the cooking and serving…what a wonderful event…we loved it…

And online there is this about the Prinsburg 2011 Independence Day Celebration…Come to a small town for a big event! There are events all day including a 10 a.m. worship service, trap shoots, festival games for the kids, and a dinner served from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Another highlight is a 1850’s baseball game. The day ends with a kiddie parade and a main parade at 6 p.m...it is a small town…and it is a big event…because after the dinner there is the kids tractor pull, volleyball, treats, games, horse rides, baseball game, a dunk tank…and a myriad of other activities for adults and kids of all ages…and for me, plenty of shade to sit and people watch…we had a great time…the snack window was open…everyone so friendly…and everyone, well just about everyone, asks your name and how you came to be there…and so welcoming…they all knew our son and his wife and their family…and we were now, “just family” to them…we talked to those who where in their 80’s and beyond…and every other age…and learn the history of Prinsburg and the school and the area…to me, a breath of fresh air…

Okay, okay…the parade…I know, you ask where are the pictures…I looked and looked…can’t put my hands on them…but let me paint a word picture for you (well, I’ll throw in a couple of pictures)…just imagine the whole town plus all those who have “come back” for this celebration…and from miles around…we are all lined up on the main street…well heavens, look on the Google Map and see the main street…see it???…that’s right the parade starts on Roseland Avenue going South and East on Kandiyohi Avenue and County Road 1…why I knew you could see it…you are doing just fine…here comes the color guard…everyone stands that can stand…hand over the heart…sort of a reverent hush as the flag goes by…you can only hear the footsteps of the color guard…but then…a band…some floats…Oh ya, a tractor or two or three or more…and kids riding bikes all decked out…candy being thrown off the fire truck and floats…local organizations from near by towns come out in numbers…and different small businesses with cars, their sign taped on the door…and old cars from the 50’s and beyond…queens and princesses…4 H and all the other youth organizations…and the school is well represented…lots of talk and yelling and music and fun…

And then it is over…for another year…but it will last in the memory for a long time…an Independence Day Celebration in small town America…what can beat it…well, you know…nothing can…we talk and shake hands with all those we met that day…and promising and hoping that we will be back next year…to celebrate this great country and it’s Independence…but we know that some year, like my Dad’s generation…we won’t get back for the parade…for the celebration…but like John Adams, we can hope that there will always be those who will celebrate the independence of this wonderful country and continue to work to keep our freedom and liberty…

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Posted by: Jim E | May 5, 2019

I Took My Mom To Lunch

 

 

I Took My Mom To Lunch…

Mother’s Day is this weekend…I will post this as I did last year…and try to do every year, in honor of my Mom…I wrote this years ago…April 2006, it was over a year after Mom died, but I had to “get it down” so I wouldn’t forget it…enjoy and if possible call your Mom…it will make her day…as my Mom did mine, on the day I describe below:

                                           

“Something reminded me this morning about taking my Mom to lunch…who knows how memories are jarred loose in our minds…but this morning this memory randomly arrived…

It has been only a little over a year since Mom passed away…but most of the memories of those days are still fresh…I know they won’t always be, so I decided this one I would write down before it becomes irretrievable…that happens to all of us as time goes by and other experiences take img070over…this lunch happened a few years ago…after Mom’s stroke and after Dad died, but before Mom slipped away from all of us…she was handicapped by some of the remnants of her stroke but still lucid enough to remember things of the past…she still knew everyone, though sometimes she called me “George” (her husband, my Dad)…and though she knew that wasn’t quite right, we both just let it go…it really didn’t matter to me and it was okay with her to let it go…just seemed like too much work for her to change it after it came out…if you don’t know what I mean, you will soon enough…

That day Mom had a doctor’s appointment…and so I picked her up…and off we went…first to her appointment, then to lunch…I really hadn’t planned to go to lunch but Mom was so “with it” that day…we talked and laughed as we drove along…she was so enjoying the ride, she commented how she would just like to keep driving…so I drove passed things that she would remember, pointed out things that were changing…she was so interested…she was always interested in what her boys thought and were interested in…that had not changed…I often wondered if that was real…was she as interested as she seemed???…I never could see anything to make me feel otherwise…and that day it was more than usual…it was a high point in these last years of her life…

I asked her if she wanted something to eat, “My treat”, I said…she laughed and said let’s go somewhere easy…I knew what she meant, she had lots of trouble getting in and out of the car…”Where do you want to go?”, I asked her…she didn’t know…so I made some suggestions…and she picked the one with the golden arches, she wanted some French fries…andPond with willows and cattails 3 of course, a drive-thru…I knew one not far away and we drove slowly to get there, talking along the way…we got our meal and parked behind the McDonald’s…so let me paint the picture…behind us was one of the busiest roads in the north suburbs of Minneapolis…but in front of us was a large swamp (called a wetlands today) and we were parked on some of the fill that had been put there to build the McDonald’s and paved…there were still piles of fill beyond where we parked…it was a warm sunny day…cattails waved far into the distance…birds flew here and there…the small willow trees along the bank moved to the motion of the wind…and here I was with my Mom…just talking, eating…sharing French fries…me watching to see if she needed help…it was perfect…Elmquist family WW II 1944

We talked of things she remembered, of things she wanted to talk about…I told her how much she meant to me…she waved it off as she often did…and talked of times past…her folks, my grandparents…she loved them…and now in her 80′s, she still honored them…they, like the rest of us were not perfect, but to her and to me…that didn’t matter, both of us agreed how wonderful they were…she remembered the days of her youth, before all this…and all that was before her…we laughed and some tears were shed…but overall it was a wonderful time…right there overlooking that beautiful swamp…

It’s a picture I will always remember (now bear with me)…from 50 or 100 feet above…do you see it???…looking down you see a McDonald’s, next to a busy highway…and behind a large swamp…and there behind the McDonald’s…right there in the parking lot…an old white Buick and inside…can you see them???…a son and his Mom, he in his 60′s, her in her 80′s…eating, talking, crying and laughing…but enjoying for one of the very last times, each other…

She was and is in my memory…loved and honored…”

Posted by: Jim E | February 28, 2019

Jeremy: Memories, Pictures, Some Tears And Our Lives…

Tomorrow is March 1st…the month of March will always be a big deal in our lives…it will be two years ago March 19, 2017 that our Jeremy died…and as that date comes closer, we have to stop and take stock of just how Judie and I are doing…I guess we are doing fine…the “guess” is in there because sometime I don’t feel so fine…because along with the “fine” is the disclaimer that “never a day goes by that we don’t think of him and miss him…but I think that’s okay…we look at that as healthy…normal…

Sometimes in the middle of things, I just expect him to walk into the room and make some comment as he rolls through…we would laugh and trade jabs…as I read something the other day…he said even years after his teenage daughter died in a car accident…”It’s not as much fun without Melissa.”…and so it is with Jeremy…”it’s just not as much fun without Jeremy.”…and though there is still “laughter in the walls” of our home…we still miss him…heavens he was with us for 47 years…

Jeremy one of the last pictures013

This is the last picture we have of Jeremy before he went in the hospital for the last time…the picture says a lot…not just him physically, but his room…his bed, by this time had been lowered…the bed frame was just too high for him to climb into bed…so the box spring is directly on the floor…and even that was just a little high…and you can tell by his face, this was not the normal Jeremy…that bright eyed and bushy tail look was taken over by his condition by this time…but also notice his truck collection…well, part of it…a small part, the rest ran all around the room on a shelf, a bit higher than this picture shows…and in boxes and closets around the house…

A picture of Dr. Keller, who did his surgeries at Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, MN is in the background, and his blue shirt that says, Rebuilt in Rochester, is also framed next to Dr. Keller’s picture…his room was HIS room…he loved all the collections he had in that room…I also have the picture of Jeremy and Dr. Keller in his office at Mayo…he has the “blue shirt” on and next to Dr. Keller…the same one in the picture above…

His collection of cars and trucks is gone…it took us a little while to decide what to do with it…we talked about selling it online, or giving it to Children’s Hospital…and also it took time to decide…was it okay to get rid of it…Oh, we knew we couldn’t keep it, for what reason would we do so, other than to remind us of Jeremy…and we have 47 years of memories that will take care of that…so we decided we needed to do something Jeremy would want…he wouldn’t want to “make money” off them…he would want them to go to someone who would enjoy them…so after long thinking about it, we decided to allow our Kids, Grandkids, and Great Grandkids to have some if they would like…I mean Jeremy had thousands of cars and trucks…no one would want all of them…

A few went to neighbors and friends…but the bulk, we decided would go to groups that worked with kids…and also many would go to Samaritan’s Purse Shoe Boxes, at Christmas time, and also to a church food shelf/gift program…no matter where they ended up we felt those kids would be happy with that gift…and we knew Jeremy would be pleased…he was a giver…and the joy of seeing his cars and trucks going to kids would have pleased him…his collection was pristine…brand new, so to speak…except for the few he loved to “get out” and look at and play with like below…

Jeremy on porch with trucks 2016

So as you can see we are walking through these memories carefully and not making snap decisions…but ones that Jeremy would want…so as March 19th comes closer we will do what we did last year…Judie and I went down to the cemetery to visit where he is buried…we know he is not there…we know he was ushered into heaven that moment he died…but it does give some bit of comfort to go there…last year Jared and Marisa, and Marla, Jared Jr. and Laura went along…a few tears and lots of memories…

Jeremy's one year visit, mom and dad

Time may dull the ache of missing Jeremy, but nothing takes the pain away completely…but we chose to enjoy everyday and live with his memory as a gift, as he was to us when he was alive…We will never regret the decision we made so many years ago…in answer to the question put to us at the time: “Who else will love our son like we would???”…the answer was easy, Jeremy made it so…we are thankful…

Jeremy, Mom and Dad025

A picture I have never shared before, I don’t think…it must have been just after he made one of his famous humorous remarks…we all remember those…some comment about what just happened…and his cute smile after the comment landed…who knows what it was, but these enjoyable moments will live on until we see him again…what a time that will be…

It was in early grade school that Jeremy made an art project…he had to choose a word…and then make an art project that was assigned…it is up in my office, I’m looking at it now…it is almost 50 years old…it has been in my office at work and in our home since he made it…it give me great comfort…and tells Judie and I what we already have…not only comfort, but real JOY…in remembering and honoring Jeremy…

Jeremy's JOY wall hanging

I’m not really sure about all of this…I only have my memories…childhood ones at that…many of those memories from childhood are ones that were told to me by my Dad or Mom…my Grandparents, or other relatives, neighbors…and like with so many memories held by children, now grown up, those memories are seen through that child’s eyes…it’s probably accurate, but only through their eyes…So that is how I begin this short journey…

Reggin's house 1926

It must have been in the mid-30’s when my Mom and Dad met…it was in the deepest part of the Great Depression…how my Dad, who lived in Minneapolis and my Mom who lived Golden Valley, met, I can only guess…my Grandparents, George and Pearl Reggin, moved to Golden Valley in the 20’s…Grandpa, built their home and they raised four Children in that very small house…George, Dorothy (my Mom), Dick and Rose…

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Grandpa, who worked for McGarvey Coffee Company, ran a small “Root Beer Stand” on the side…on the corner of Archibald Avenue and Highway 55, or “Olson Memorial Highway”…named for a Minnesota Governor Floyd B. Olson…that may have been where Dad and Mom met…she, her sister Rose worked there as well as my Grandparents…here is my Mom working there…they also sold fireworks…so I could see that they met there…I never remember them talking about when or how they met…

My Dad was raised  in Northeast Minneapolis…referred to as “Nordeast” by most…but he was born in Imperial, Alberta, Canada…my Grandparents moved to Canada in the early 1900’s…my Dad was born in 1915, in a log cabin…he rode a horse to school…my Elmquist Grandparents made the trek to Canada twice…they moved back to the U.S. and when Grandpa wanted to move back to Canada a third time…Grandma put her foot down…they stayed in the U.S. for the rest of their lives…he worked for the Soo Line Railroad…

During the Depression my Dad worked in the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps)…it was a government job program to put young men back to work…they had to send part of their wages back home…my Dad worked in Northern Minnesota…the camps were run like the army…and many of the improvements, buildings and parks are still being used today…

Sometime in the later 30’s Mom and Dad found one another…I’m sure a lot of adjustments had to be made in that early marriage, like all marriages…my Mom was about 18, my Dad was 24…found themselves in the depression, no jobs…my Dad worked for Fruen Mill on the West Side of Minneapolis…I remember that as a child…it was still a mill at the time…Dad used to tell of his working there, at night…he said he had a flashlight as he walked along the railroad tracks…he would hear a noise and turn the flashlight…almost always it would be a rat…they got as big as a cat…

Fruen Mill, Minneapolis MN

They got married in 1938 or 39…there is some confusion of dates…Jack, my older brother by 3 years…then I came along in February, 1942…Pearl Harbor and WWII started in December of 1941…so, I was born just two months after Pearl Harbor and the beginning of WWII…my Dad went in the Navy, about a year later, in 1943…that meant my Mom was alone with two small kids, while Dad was in the Navy for the duration of the war…he was discharged in January 1946…

My Mom took both Jack and me and left for San Francisco, by train, to meet my Dad when he was discharged from the Navy…I don’t remember the trip, I was about four…Mom said it was an eventful trip…in those days there were still a lot of steam engines…lots of smoke and ashes…no A/C…she said the rats came along free…the best trains were saved for the troops…we rented an apartment for the time we waited for Dad…the plans were to stay, but instead, we came back to Minneapolis…

house 515 Meadow Lane

We rented a house, at 515 Meadow Lane…in the same neighborhood Mom grew up in…and that I grew up…I remember a few memories there…ice skating in the swamp, in back of our house…I remember the little Chapel on the top of the hill, that we attended…in those cold winter nights we would light a bonfire by the swamp…we even used an old tire once…and how small the house was…

And I remember when we built the basement house, just after the war…my Dad was working at the Minneapolis Gas Company…Oh, there was always the plan to build a house on the top…but it never happened…no indoor plumbing…water from my Grandparents, no bathroom…we had an outhouse…it was fairly spartan, but it was still our home…those were difficult years…my Dad came out of the war and had issues with alcohol, like a lot of guys from that war…it limited him in what he was going to do with his life, because it came at the most important part of his life…

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My Mom carried the brunt of all things that needed to be done…I remember when the flat roof on the basement house was leaking…she got some asphalt in a gallon bucket…she climbed up on the roof and tried to seal it…Jack and I went up there too…too young to help much but we couldn’t see our Mom doing that…I even remember one year she bought rolls of roofing and went up to repair the roof…finally I think she was talked into getting someone to do the work…Dad was just not involved…

Those years were hard years, but great years too…during the late 40’s and then the 50’s, we were free to grow up in all our surroundings…outside was our playground, baseball in the streets…football…hockey, skiing in the winter…it was a great time to grow up…I asked Jack, my older brother, if he liked his childhood…without a pause, he said it was great…even though we didn’t have a lot…didn’t have what others had, yet we had so much to be thankful for…

Elmquist shed, BB hoop, cottonwood trees in snow

Oh, I didn’t tell you about our backyard shed…we built it for our bikes, lawnmower, stuff…but also there was a basketball hoop…I will add a picture…really a Christmas picture…fresh snow and our basketball court…my younger brother, Jerry played basketball as well as Jack and I…here is the place where we spent hours playing…even in below zero weather…we would go out and shovel the court…then we would put the ball outside while we ate…so it would get acclimated…that way it would not sweat and the dirt and snow would not stick to it…the ball was below zero too…we turned on the spot light (if you look at the picture of my Mom and the basement house above, at the top of the tall pole was the spotlight) and…what great games we had there with neighbor kids…I remember the paperboy would stop and eat supper with us and stay and play ball…papers were delivered late those nights…Great memories…

Posted by: Jim E | July 26, 2018

Jeremy…And The Land Of Far Distances…

Remember when…it is what memories are made of…to remember…and if we don’t write down those memories, we forget, or we don’t remember clearly what happened…that is the difficulty of relying on our memory…but even with that problem, memories are wonderful things…

Jeremy, Mom and Dad (2)

As Judie and I think back to those last years of Jeremy’s life, the first thing that comes to mind is how much we miss him…then we think about the reality of those days…some were very hard…very busy…time consuming…we looked forward to breaks in the day…Jeremy needed one of us to be present all the time, in the last year of his life…so if one of us was in the shower, the other needed to be available…there were many difficult days…

I can remember when something came up…it was “all hands on deck”…so we learned to celebrate small victories…I always thought, “He will get better.”…I thought, if we give enough care, the best of doctors and medical care…he will rise above the present problems…he always has before, so why not now…if nothing happened within a twenty-four hour period, we would tell each other, “It was a good day.”…it reminded us to be thankful for God being with us in the smallest things…it helps when the next hard thing comes along…and with Jeremy, it did come…

Waco and Ranch 2016

I can remember just weeks before Jeremy died…we got a call from my nephew in Minnesota…his Dad, my Brother had died…it was sudden, a surprise, as all death is…this was the last of February, 2017…I told Mark that I would get back to him…he asked me to say something at the funeral…my mind was racing, I wanted to go, but what about Jeremy…he was passing out regularly by now…and we were going to have to drive up to Minnesota…Judie and I talked about it…I knew what Jeremy’s answer was going to be…

Jeremy had a special relationship with Uncle Jack…there was just something there…they both felt it…Jeremy always told his favorite stories about Uncle Jack…so when we decided to go…we all had to go together…Jeremy’s needs didn’t stop, so both us had to be around…so we all would go…Jeremy was elated…he loved a road trip…he and his Mom started to gather up all the things he needed…snacks, videos, CD’s, etc…and for some reason Jeremy had been asking Judie if he could see his Brother…that was Jess, he and his family live in Minnesota…even though it was for a funeral, we would stay at Jess’…and Jeremy would get to see him…

Jeremy and Duke 2

The trip went well…I have described it in a former post…he had some passing out and weakness…but for the most part, it was a good trip…Jeremy loved it…it was part of God’s blessing on all us those last days…we saw God’s hand in our lives, giving us direction and blessing through everyday…in just a few short weeks, Jeremy would be gone too…

As part of a devotion, Our Daily Bread, I read everyday, a story was related about Amy Carmichael (1867-1951) who is known for her work with rescuing orphaned girls in India and giving them a new life…in the midst of this exhausting work of rescuing these young girls…there were times she called “moments of vision”…In her book Gold by Moonlight, she wrote, “In the midst of a crowded day we are given almost a glimpse of ‘the land of far distances’, and we stand still, arrested on the road.” She was referring to the verse in Isaiah 33:17 “Your eyes will see the king in his beauty and view a land that stretches afar.”

Isaiah thirty three, seventeen 2

I thought, how true that is with Judie and I…when we didn’t know whether we could physically do all the things we had to do…all the care, and yet all the “regular things”…it was hard…but we too found ourselves “in the midst of a crowded day we are given almost a  glimpse of ‘the land of far distances,’ and we stand still, arrested on the road.”

Jeremy's Memory Quilt 3

To view this “land of far distances” is to be lifted above the circumstances of the present and to gain eternal perspective…to see our lives from His viewpoint and regain hope…we could choose to look down in discouragement or lift our eyes to the “land of far distances,”…to the Lord who is our help, and will give us peace…and so, “we stand still, arrested on the road”…for we have seen the “king in his beauty and view a land that stretches far off”…

Jeremy's memory quilt

Posted by: Jim E | May 26, 2018

Memorial Day, I Remember…

Memorial Day, I Remember…

(This is something I wrote in 2010,  for Memorial Day…thought I would post it again…enjoy and if you can,  fly the flag…and remember how fragile our freedom is…how precious our liberty…and though it seems impossible, how easy it would be to lose it…we have come close in our history a number of times, who knows we could be close to it now…so this is not the time to forget that or to lose hope in this special and exceptional country…)

Another Memorial Day…and I don’t mean, “just another Memorial Day”…I do mean, “It IS another Memorial Day”…I am humbled by the day itself…this is not, as even some presidents mistakenly view it, a day to honor all our men and women in the armed forces…(though we do honor them)…there are other days set aside for that…Veterans Day, Armed Forces Day, days to honor the different services…this day is for the fallen…those who have given their lives for this great country of ours…

On the way to church this morning we went by a sign in front of Parkway Automotive, an auto repair shop, it said…”Closed Memorial Day…to honor those who have fallen”…that pretty much says it all…across our country there are ceremonies to remember what it takes to be free…it takes men and woman who are willing to give their lives to make sure we stay free…I have our flag flying outside our house all year…but as you can see, I add a few others to honor Memorial Day…

Arlington National Cemetery, just outside Washington D. C., is very well known…it was the family home of Robert E. Lee before the Civil War…but it was basically “taken” because of he fought on the side of the South during the war…(there is more to that story if you would like to Google it)…and it was turned into a cemetery during the Civil War…and after…many famous Americans are buried there…this song by Trace Adkins may make the story a little more personal…

But Arlington National Cemetery is not the only place our fallen are buried…my Dad, who served in WWII, is buried in Fort Snelling National Cemetery in Minneapolis, MN…and because of his service, my Mom was is buried right beside him…this picture of Fort Snelling is so beautiful…I remember very well the day we buried my Dad and then the day we buried my Mom…and I remember exactly where it is…I think I could drive right to it…but all those markers sure tell a story…they all served, many of them died far before their “time” in wars that keep us free even today…and many others were able to live full lives because others gave theirs…and my Dad knew the difference…he often told us that the real heroes never made it back…

He served in the south Pacific in the Navy…saw more than he ever wanted to…didn’t talk much about it…but was so proud that he served…and he wanted us to know, when he and Mom died, they wanted to be buried at Fort Snelling…along with all those who went before…he lived to be almost 83…and he along with so many that I knew, were forever changed by The War…and much like that war, men and women who serve today are changed in ways the rest of us cannot know…

One more picture of Fort Snelling…my Mom and Dad are there…I honor them today…but not only them…all of those who served and died to keep us Free…We honor them today…

 

Posted by: Jim E | May 8, 2018

I Took My Mom To Lunch…

I Took My Mom To Lunch…

Mother’s Day is this weekend…I will post this as I did last year…and try to do every year, in honor of my Mom…I wrote this years ago…April 2006, it was over a year after Mom died, but I had to “get it down” so I wouldn’t forget it…enjoy and if possible call your Mom…it will make her day…as my Mom did mine, on the day I describe below:

                                           

“Something reminded me this morning about taking my Mom to lunch…who knows how memories are jarred loose in our minds…but this morning this memory randomly arrived…

It has been only a little over a year since Mom passed away…but most of the memories of those days are still fresh…I know they won’t always be, so I decided this one I would write down before it becomes irretrievable…that happens to all of us as time goes by and other experiences take img070over…this lunch happened a few years ago…after Mom’s stroke and after Dad died, but before Mom slipped away from all of us…she was handicapped by some of the remnants of her stroke but still lucid enough to remember things of the past…she still knew everyone, though sometimes she called me “George” (her husband, my Dad)…and though she knew that wasn’t quite right, we both just let it go…it really didn’t matter to me and it was okay with her to let it go…just seemed like too much work for her to change it after it came out…if you don’t know what I mean, you will soon enough…

That day Mom had a doctor’s appointment…and so I picked her up…and off we went…first to her appointment, then to lunch…I really hadn’t planned to go to lunch but Mom was so “with it” that day…we talked and laughed as we drove along…she was so enjoying the ride, she commented how she would just like to keep driving…so I drove passed things that she would remember, pointed out things that were changing…she was so interested…she was always interested in what her boys thought and were interested in…that had not changed…I often wondered if that was real…was she as interested as she seemed???…I never could see anything to make me feel otherwise…and that day it was more than usual…it was a high point in these last years of her life…

I asked her if she wanted something to eat, “My treat”, I said…she laughed and said let’s go somewhere easy…I knew what she meant, she had lots of trouble getting in and out of the car…”Where do you want to go?”, I asked her…she didn’t know…so I made some suggestions…and she picked the one with the golden arches, she wanted some French fries…andPond with willows and cattails 3 of course, a drive-thru…I knew one not far away and we drove slowly to get there, talking along the way…we got our meal and parked behind the McDonald’s…so let me paint the picture…behind us was one of the busiest roads in the north suburbs of Minneapolis…but in front of us was a large swamp (called a wetlands today) and we were parked on some of the fill that had been put there to build the McDonald’s and paved…there were still piles of fill beyond where we parked…it was a warm sunny day…cattails waved far into the distance…birds flew here and there…the small willow trees along the bank moved to the motion of the wind…and here I was with my Mom…just talking, eating…sharing French fries…me watching to see if she needed help…it was perfect…Elmquist family WW II 1944

We talked of things she remembered, of things she wanted to talk about…I told her how much she meant to me…she waved it off as she often did…and talked of times past…her folks, my grandparents…she loved them…and now in her 80′s, she still honored them…they, like the rest of us were not perfect, but to her and to me…that didn’t matter, both of us agreed how wonderful they were…she remembered the days of her youth, before all this…and all that was before her…we laughed and some tears were shed…but overall it was a wonderful time…right there overlooking that beautiful swamp…

It’s a picture I will always remember (now bear with me)…from 50 or 100 feet above…do you see it???…looking down you see a McDonald’s, next to a busy highway…and behind a large swamp…and there behind the McDonald’s…right there in the parking lot…an old white Buick and inside…can you see them???…a son and his Mom, he in his 60′s, her in her 80′s…eating, talking, crying and laughing…but enjoying for one of the very last times, each other…

She was and is in my memory…loved and honored…”

 

Maybe I should be saying sorry for writing another post that deals with Jeremy…but on the other hand, things just keep coming up…and also, everyday we live, he somehow is a part of it…everything reminds us of him…where we go shopping, if we go out to eat, what we prepare at home…it doesn’t really matter, he was with us all his life, 47 years, and we are drenched with his memories…it feels good…he still makes me smile when I think of him…so it’s all good, I guess…

Jeremy's one year visit, mom and dad 2

Last year when Jess and Jennifer where here, they gave us a miniature rose…I thought right away to plant it at Jeremy’s cemetery…he is buried in a mausoleum so the only place that came to mind was behind the building, just outside the “mowed” grass…I thought we could do it there…most would think it should be near the building…but something in me thought…you know, Jeremy would want it “planted”, just outside the grounds, but seen from his grave site…I agreed!!!…

Jeremy's rose from Jess and Jennifer

But after we took it home and Judie began to think about it…she wanted it right outside her window by her desk, so she could watch it grow and bloom…so plan changed…we planted it right where she wanted it…this picture is from last year…it had many blooms on it…and this year it is growing larger and with four buds on it already…but what about Jeremy and my plan for his cemetery you ask…I made it known that we would still do that…well, a week ago or so, Marisa bought a rose bush to plant and Jared, Marisa, Judie and I went down to the cemetery to plant the rose bush…we chose a spot that as you walk down the sidewalk toward Jeremy’s grave site, if you look straight ahead…

Okay, in your minds eye now…look straight ahead…back, way back of the mowed grass…if you look close, Jared “weed whacked” a small clear spot…see it, yup, that’s it right there…he dug up the ground and planted it right there…I know you can see it…and when you come again, it will be growing, even more green than now…and maybe a red rose or two…Jeremy would love that you see what we see…and I have two more picture of us there…Jared is watering the rose bush…and there is a “selfie” of the four of us and…if you look close, you can see the rose bush…right there…between us…what a great day…Hey Jeremy, we done good…finally got our dream in place…planting done…rose bush can start blooming…what a great day…

We’ve been going though “all things Jeremy”…I should say, Judie is going through all things Jeremy…Heaven’s, she knows where those things are…on shelves in closets, in albums…so every once in a while she will put one of those things in front of me…when I see him, really look at him in a picture…it hits me, I really miss him, and think of something to write about him…that is good for me, maybe not so good for you…

Like, Judie showed me some pictures of family, back a few years…well, many years…we must have gone to a portrait place to have it done…and there is all our family at the time…Jared and Marisa must have been married…but then again they look like they are in high school…we forget how young we once were…but anyway, there was Jay, Jared and Marisa, Jess and Jeremy…and Judie and I…heavens, we look like we were in high school!!!…

Jeremy and family before surgery

But there we all were…and there is Jeremy, this was before he had his major jaw surgery with Dr. Keller, at Mayo Clinic…I will show you the miracle of that surgery, if I can find a picture…Jeremy stood proud, as he always was, his teeth protruding…but there he was in all his glory, proud to be Jeremy…and all of us, honored for him to be part of our family…the picture I will add is one that Judie put together to show the difference jaw surgery made for Jeremy…

Jeremy before and after surgery in the 90's 2

I can remember back when Jeremy was in high school…hey, by the way, see that hand on Jeremy’s shoulder in the first two pictures???…my hand…yup, hard to think of all that…tears in my eyes…but that was a normal pose for us…me with my hand on him…okay, back to the story…he was the basketball manager for the team in high school…I mean, he was “in charge”…he took that job seriously, he served with pride for 7 years…

So, one game night he was running here and there taking care of the coaches and team…of course he was different…short, noticeably different in looks and so on, but did a great job…when the game was over, a teacher that I knew from the other school came up to me…she asked me if I knew the young manager, and described him…I immediately told her, it was my reaction when anyone wondered about Jeremy…I said, with pride, “He’s my son.”…and we talked about Jeremy for few minutes, and how she thought how great he did his job…Jeremy stood out…and not only because of his looks, but because of his character…and up to the time he died, he never wavered from his unusual courage and character…

Judie and I miss him…he brought to our home, humor and humility…strength of purpose…love of God and love of family…he knew right from wrong instinctively…and loved life…

Jeremy, Mom and Dad

I complete this year of posts, on our Son Jeremy’s life, with some sense of closure…closure of one year since he died…one year that we have lived without him…and one year, as we determined last year, would be one of celebration of his life…I think we have done that…lots of things have come and gone…you can read some of that in the 15 posts I have written during this year…

It all started with last Sunday…last year Jeremy died on March 19th, which was a Sunday last year…so we began our special time on Sunday…we got up and went to church…came home and went to Chinese Kitchen to get takeout for lunch…it was one of Jeremy’s favorites…so that began our Sunday, the way we would always start our Sunday with Jeremy…then we went to the cemetery where he is buried…

Jeremy's cemetery 2017

Jared, Marisa and Marla wanted to go with us…and then Jared and Laura decided to come along…we had a great time talking, laughing, crying and remembering Jeremy…it was a good time there…it’s beautiful and peaceful…just the way he would want it…at least to Judie and I, it is a perfect place for him…well, for us too, we have a place there too…

On Monday, this year it was the 19th, so it is the actual day of Jeremy’s death…we watched the slideshow that Will, Jessica’s husband, put together for Jeremy’s funeral service last year…it was so well done…some of Jeremy’s favorite music and some of our favorite pictures of Jeremy…it was a wonderful way to start our special day…we also watched the video that Jared made on the morning that Jeremy died…he set up his IPhone in the hospital room and videoed when we walked in and how it all went…it was a hard video to see again…but at the same time, it was, as we decided that morning…the starting of a celebration of Jeremy’s life…and his new life in heaven…

Jeremy Peace Dove on door. March 19, 2017

Judie just came into the room and showed me the album of pictures she put together for Jess…it is priceless…they really grew up together…they shared the same room for years…often during the early part of Jeremy’s life, he ended up in Jess’ bed many nights…Jeremy was recovering at the time from his surgery, radiation and chemotherapy…He and Jess have always had a close relationship…

Then with a cup of coffee, we went to the Arkansas River to listen to the funeral service, it’s only 10 minutes from our house, and a favorite place for Jeremy to go…(a boat ramp…picnic tables and campsites)…the church makes a audio disc of the service…so we took that to Maumelle Park and overlooking the Arkansas River, we listened to the entire service…we enjoyed all of it…all of our boys spoke, Jay, Jared and Jess…Judie and I spoke too…it was great to hear all of the feelings our family shared with everyone who came…this picture is from over a year ago, enjoying a picnic lunch, at the park, overlooking the Arkansas River…

Jeremy picnic Arkansas River 2015029

All of these memories brings me to something I have not said in so many words…Judie and I want to say “Thank You” to everyone…those who have done so many things for us during this year…those that came to the funeral…we were dumbfounded by the love shown our family…and the love shown to Jeremy…Dr. Keller, Jeremy’s doctor at Mayo Clinic, who did so many miracle surgeries on Jeremy, he came…he told me when I greeted him, “I could not, not come.”…and there were others who came from far away, we appreciated it…and there were many who worked with Jeremy that came and they and others sent cards, flowers, and messages on the funeral home site…books about mourning…they all were so appreciated…

Then there were our neighbors, whom Jeremy so loved…they were wonderful during this time…those that Jeremy worked with at CUB Foods in Minnesota…Kroger, here in Little Rock…so loved by Jeremy…and he was so loved in return…we just replaced the fern that one of his co-workers sent to his funeral last year…it lasted until the frost last fall…we still have some plants from his funeral…

Jeremy fern memory March 2018

But our thanks goes on and on…I am not able to mention everyone who has touched Jeremy’s life here and in Minnesota…doctors, teachers, coaches, the job coach who got him his interview at CUB Foods…and Joey from Easter Seals, here in Little Rock, who got him his interview at Kroger…the person at Arkansas Disability who helped him get hearing aids so he could work…so, so many to thank…

And our neighbors, who adopted Jeremy as their own…provided friendship of someone who many times they could not understand…but treated him like their own…talking and swinging on porch swings in the summer, ball games with one…backyard talks with others…sitting with neighbors who owed him nothing…but gave their all…we thank all of you…

Jeremy and Don, a neighbor 2013

Let me take a sharp turn at this point…let me go back to 1972 for a moment…Judie and I were 30 years old…parents of 4 boys…our youngest, Jeremy, developed a tumor in the back of his head, that needed to be taken out…the operation was successful…and Jeremy had a life as full as he could make it…but I remember some days when we didn’t know…we just told ourselves that we would enjoy him and love him for as long as we had him…it was almost 47 years…Wow…what a great and wonderful time we had together…

I remember when he had radiation…I was the only one who could get him to hold still…he was about 2 1/2, but he and I had this bond, this trust in one another…I was outside the radiation room talking to him over an intercom…but he, inside the radiation room, had to lay still the whole time alone…or else he had to be “put under”…that was too much for me, to have him put under everyday for a month…so we two, developed over time…to understand, we could trust one another…he did it…that young…amazing…

Jeremy and Dad cardinal jackets 1990's049

I remember after he had a shunt put in his head about 3 years old…to drain excess fluid…he developed a enlarged area in the back of his head…the shunt didn’t appear to be working…so they wanted him to have the fluid taken out…they were going to put a syringe needle in the back of his head to drain it…I don’t know if they would allow anyone else to help…but Jeremy and I worked out this “thing” we had together…I held him on the gurney…and talked to him, held him still and when it was done…as he told it…it was a piece of cake…he was something…did I ever say, he was my best friend?…he was my example of a man…Dr. Keller once told us, “Isn’t it wonderful the Lord chose to use your own son to bless your lives.”…it was so…

So many memories…he was so courageous…he showed me what it was to be a real man…

One more story to tell in this post…back in 2005, Judie had a double mastectomy, because they found cancer…I wrote this post back then, and want to show you now, what Jeremy was, all his life…Judie went to see her doctor for a check-up…Jeremy and I went along…the post will tell the story…I called it “How’s Mom”…he was special…he loved with a special kind of love…it was unconditional and active…and he loved his Mom…enjoy…

How’s Mom

Sent: Tuesday, July 12, 2005 6:09 PM

Subject: How’s Mom???…

Many of you know our son Jeremy…some of you very well…some of you not so well…but most of you know his background…and he is a man of few words…(unless he is talking about Cub Foods or his collections of old movies and 1/64 scale trucks)…but mostly he stays in the background…makes sure things are in order…along with his few words, he is a “bit anal” about “stuff”…(we are trying to figure out who he takes after…but this is still a mystery!!!)…

Underneath this seemingly aloof young man, runs a very caring, generous, sensitive and emotional side…one which “pops it’s head up” at appropriate and mostly private times…Judie and I get to see it more than anyone else…but it is there and many people get the benefit of this quiet and mostly unacknowledged and unnoticed part of Jeremy…let me tell you a story about Jeremy in the last few weeks since Judie found out about her breast cancer, surgery, etc…not a man of a lot of words…but I titled it, “How’s Mom?”…  

When we told Jeremy about Judie’s diagnosis…he listened…didn’t ask a lot of questions…just brought home flowers…(as he often does)…he quietly listened when Judie and I talked and cried…so he knew what the situation was…through all of the surgery…the stay at the hospital…at home…not a lot of talk, he just listened…

 We went to Cub Foods where Jeremy works and Liz, one of the managers, came up to Judie and told her that she asked Jeremy how his Mom was…he said, “Wonderful!”…and when Mark Allison, the “big boss” came in from Cub’s main office…Jeremy went up to him and said, “Ask Liz about my Mom.”…so Liz said Mark came right into a meeting she was in and asked about Jeremy’s Mom…Liz told him and he said to tell Judie that his prayers are with her…(Mark Allison’s dad, Bob Allison, who played on the 1965 Minnesota Twins World Series Team…died sometime later of Lou Gehrig Disease…so he understands personal pain)…

 A few days later Judie had to go into the doctor to look at a problem that was bothering her…(fluid was gathering under the surgery site)…Jeremy was along, it was his day off…and after we saw the doctor…and we went out in the hall…Judie went to the restroom…and we were looking for the men’s restroom…I was making small talk that it must be out in the entrance area…Jeremy stopped me…looked up and said, “How’s Mom???”…

 And when we later told him that we would not be able to do the things we planned (previous to all this) on his vacation…he said “Hey, at least I’m not at work.”…

 Not a lot of talk…but a lot of thought…as I told Judie later, through tears…that the first thing on Jeremy’s mind…was his Mom…”How’s Mom”…I love that…

Jeremy, Mom and Dad025

 

 


 

 

 

There is no doubt, I am wrapped up in little things…like most people, most of those things are memories…and those memories are usually tied to people we love or are close to…so it is with Skippy peanut butter…stay with me now…almost everyday I have peanut butter on toast in the morning…when I get out the peanut butter, I know it is Skippy, because that it the kind I buy…you may say, “Have you lost your mind?”…no…it reminds me of my Mom…she worked for Skippy during WWII…it’s a little thing…but thinking about my Mom is a good thing for me…she was one of a kind, I still love her…Skippy, just a little thing, helps me to remember how wonderful she was…

And with Jeremy, there are so many little things, so many memories…all tied up with who he was…he, too, was special, a wonderful son, my best friend…who had a wonderful life…full of great experiences…and Judie and I shared in all of them…47 years of memories, little things all tied up in Jeremy’s life…

Ecclesiastes 3

Ecclesiastes 3:1-14, starts with verse 1: “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:”…and then for verses 2-8, the preacher gives a list of those things, “a time to be born and a time to die,”…to plant and to uproot…to kill and to heal…to tear down and to build…to weep and to laugh…to mourn and to dance…to scatter stones and to gather them…to embrace and to refrain from embracing…to search and to give up…to keep and to throw away…to tear and to mend…to be silent and to speak…to love and to hate…a time for war and for peace…

Ecclesiastes beautiful in its time

And verse 11, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart;”…this it what we have been doing for almost a year…celebrating Jeremy’s life, because God has made everything beautiful in its time…and the fact that eternity has been placed in all our hearts…we celebrate Jeremy’s Home-going, as well…let me in the next few minutes share what we have come to understand, that Jeremy had a wonderful life, full of all the things he was suppose to experience…and we were here to make sure they happened…

Now I will not pretend to put everything down on paper…but how about a taste of Jeremy’s life…some of the things he loved and made him what he was…

Did I ever tell you Jeremy had a dog?…yup, he did…Muffin was his name, a black and white Shih Tzu…he was his dog, not my dog, not Judie dog…Muff was Jeremy’s dog…they slept together, sat together, did everything together…just before Jeremy came home from work, Muffin would be waiting for him…by the door or if outside he would lay on the grass-covered little hill by the tree, watching down the street waiting for his truck to come into view…Muffin would see it and get excited to see Jeremy…Jeremy would honk the horn…Jeremy would come out put down his lunch bucket and stuff…and he and Muffin would, as they say here in the South, “love on” one another…it was a special relationship…

img049

When Muffin was first with us, he went outside and got lost…lots of sadness…but on that one Thanksgiving Day…as I looked out the kitchen window…I saw a black and white thing bobbing out in the field behind our house…”There’s Muffin”, I yelled…Jess ran out in the field and returned him to Jeremy…I will add a picture of that time, that my Mom took…as I remember, the “preacher” said, a time to search and a time to give up…the lost was found…Jeremy had 12 years of “lovin’ on” Muffin…and visa versa…

Jeremy loved to work, around the house, at school, at church, job program, or at his permanent job…he was, as my Dad used to say, “A workin’ fool”…he loved the responsibility…love pleasing his boss…committed to doing a good job…so when an opportunity came to be a manager of his brothers basketball team…he was on board…he was a basketball manager for 7 years…all the way to the State Tournament his senior year…I can’t say for sure, but all the team loved Jeremy, because of the kind of person he was…he never forgot them…the coaches, really all the people around the program knew and respected Jeremy…I don’t think he ever let them down…he saw it as a chance to serve…and they honored him, when they won the Regional Tournament, and asked him to make the “first cut” in cutting down the net…I will add a picture… 

Jeremy makes the first cut at regions064

Little things, simple gifts…they all flood my memories…like the year Jeremy got to see the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans…he got a free trip to Disneyland because people just thought he should go…one year when the doctors thought he would not make it but a few months or weeks, he got over 250 birthday cards in the mail…but he fooled everyone and lived the full life he was given…

He got to see Florida, and Disney World, Epcot and so on…and go with Jess, the brother who he grew up with…saw the Space Shuttle lift-off to the moon…spent time in the Rocky Mountains, Devil’s Tower, saw Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, the Badlands (both in North and South Dakota)…saw the outdoor Medora Musical at Theodore Roosevelt National Park (he even ran the lights that night)…how he got inside that booth and got to do that, I will never know…but on the other hand, I do know…he was a special person…

Medora Musical, Medora, North Dakota

Jeremy loved Branson, Missouri…he especially loved the Presleys Jubilee…he, as he did with everyone he loved, he went right up and talked to them like old friends…and they didn’t know any better than to believe he WAS an old friend…Oh, and Jeremy loved Pasties…we traveled many time to Michigan going the Northern route…the UP (Upper Peninsula) is famous for Pasties…and in particular Lehtos Pasties near the Mackinaw Bridge…and Mackinaw Island…he just loved to travel…any road trip, look around, he was already in the car…

Mackinac Bridge

And how about the Minnesota State Fair…most people don’t “get it”…what is so great about the State Fair…there is no way to explain it, without going…Jeremy loved the food there…Footlong hotdogs, and on and on…just being there…Machinery Hill, with all the tractors…and then The Farm in Illinois, how he loved The Farm…fishing in the pond…

Speaking of fishing…we fished for 20 years or so together…we went to the Boat Show in Minneapolis…and we came home with a fishing boat…he bragged to his Mom…he couldn’t wait to tell her…”Dad says this is my college tuition.”…and we enjoyed his “college” for all those years…and yes, he did “out-fish me”…

I’ve got to stop…but there are a myriad of memories…Judie and I share them all the time…Jeremy was one of our great gifts in this life…and now in the last years of our life, we will share the wonderful memories we have…as we get close to the end of our first year without Jeremy…there is still profound sadness but an effervescent joy in all memories we are able to remember and share…

As I left Baptist Hospital where Jeremy was taken care of and ultimately died…I remember one of the times I walked into the hospital…I was weary and probably a little down…Jeremy was in one of the rooms there…we really didn’t know what was in the future…but I looked down at the sidewalk…and there were two verses inscribed there…after all these years…the Bible is still comforting to me…

Jeremy Baptist Hospital sidewalk verse August 2016 1Jeremy Baptist Hospital sidewalk verse August 2016

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