Blog # 155
Early in my dating era with my soon to be wife, she decided it was time for a meeting with her family. Now this wasn’t just a casual meeting, it was THE family gathering.
I was the outsider, in more ways than one. Both I, and my soon to be wife were in college, but, I garnered from this meeting, that she had LOT’S of boy-friend dates. But,it seems that all of these “suitors” came from the “old home town”. As a result her family KNEW everyone she was dating, other than me. So, I did my nerve-racking best to be on my best behavior.
There, in an overstuffed chair, sat a little old (to me) man, with thick glass, that made his eyes look like they were bulging out. I was introduced to Arthur, her grandfather on her mother’s side.
I stuck out my hand, “Hi Art!” Silence fell over the room.
Art was born in 1901, the third of eight children. Art spent most of his life around the family farm, spent one winter/spring at a maple syrup camp, and his adult career as the custodian of a little country school.
I had committed the ultimate sacrilege, it was widely accepted that this was ARTHUR, not Art! No one ever called him anything but Arthur, or dad, or grandpa, which ever was appropriate. Art, stuck out his hand and said “Hi”. I had broken the ice, I was the only one, until his last days to ever call him Art.
It’s Art’s last days I wish to mention. He had three daughters, one of which I’ve written of previously, Aunt EVA.
It was cold in January 1989, Art’s health had been steadily failing, he was lying in a bed at daughter Helen’s house. Like Eva, Helen was a nurse. The sister’s would take turns with their mother, watching over their Art’s death-bed. For a few days, Art would slip in and out of our world, to somewhere else.
On a day when Helen was sitting by the bed, Art slip into that somewhere. Helen began patting his hand saying, “Come back dad, come back”. Art eventually awoke, and quietly began naming people and loved ones he had seen in that somewhere. Not unusual, for we are regularly told of people who “think” they see things in those final moments.
But, then Art made the most remarkable statement. ” I told them I couldn’t come, I wanted to wait for Eva”.
1989 was year of change, we returned from Minnesota for Art’s funeral, on January 4, 1989. A surprise promotion in July, had us relocating out of Minnesota back to Indiana. In November, Eva died.
I’m sure Arthur was waiting for her.