"You'll never get ahead if you don't take care of what you have." - Doris Waddell, RIP

A historic building on our U of M-Morris campus - morris mn

A historic building on our U of M-Morris campus - morris mn
The multi-ethnic building was the original home of the music department at UMM. (B.W. photo)

Thursday, August 3, 2017

A cup of coffee and thoughts re. mortality

God bless our old Radarage "Cookmaster" microwave oven, by Amana. It's ancient. So simple to operate. Just a few buttons to deal with. So contrary to the trends of today. I see microwave ovens for sale today and there are all kinds of buttons to push. Our old Radarage is like a rock I can depend on. I approach it every morning at 5 a.m., give or take an hour, and prepare my hot morning instant coffee that activates my mental function.
My mother doesn't drink coffee and it was ditto with Dad. Mom has wheat bran flakes, the store brand from Willie's, every morning. Dad enjoyed his raisin bran. Our dog Sandy had his Cesar's dog food. Dad knew that as soon as I got in my recliner, Sandy would come along within seconds and ask to be fed. It became a morning gag in our household. We had Robin Meade of the HLN network on TV in front of us.
These days I watch "Morning Joe" with Joe and Mika - I'm not going to review the spelling of Mika's last name - discussing the notorious issues associated with Donald Trump and his administration. Is it Watergate redux? No one can predict of course.
Mom is 93 years old. Home health nurses visit us. I have never bet against my mother living longer. But of course no one lives forever. I am thankful she does not have the kind of cancer pain issues that I have long been familiar with through acquaintances. I am told that weakness will set in. As I write this, I sense that process is underway. She has enjoyed life to a great extent since coming home from Barrett Care Center.
We were in Barrett so long, it really did start feeling like home. I miss many of the people we shared time with there. Some of them, I'm sure, thought I was a little too overbearing or involved as a caregiver. Some of them seemed to like me totally and that's nice. A fellow caregiver who was also there a lot said to me: "You keep close watch on your mother all the time, and they (staff) don't like that." Perhaps staff fears I'll file some sort of complaint based on an alleged misstep in care. Nursing home residents present a heckuva challenge, and I fully support and admire those who work at these institutions.
Mom, in spite of her challenges, has enjoyed life just fine since coming home from Barrett. We have gone to church regularly along with the Wednesday night ELCA Lutheran sessions at the Met Lounge side room. Bridget serves us wonderfully there. Church at the Met Lounge? We must emphasize it's the side room.
It has always been folly trying to predict how much longer Mom will be with us. She will leave this life and join her husband Ralph in heaven. There she can play the "UMM Hymn" on the piano for Dad's enjoyment.
Mom will also join her sister Mildred and brother Edwin. Mildred of Oregon passed away a couple years ago from esophageal cancer - an unfortunate way to die. She was under the care of home hospice at the end, just like Mom is now. She stayed at the home of her stepdaughter and her husband. Aunt Mildred's husband was Ray Riedberger who had Hawley MN roots. She had a first marriage that produced five children but ended sadly. Let's just leave it at that. Many years passed before I saw any of those cousins again.
Edwin of San Diego had a son, Norman, who won high honors for his service in Viet Nam. My father always wondered if Norman had to do some very unpleasant things to win that. Norman had a twin brother Allan. Norman died of a heart attack several years ago. I regret not seeing more of them over the years. So, Norman will be in heaven awaiting my mother too.
My mother never liked it when I swore, so when she passes to the next life, I will have to resolve to never again utter a cuss word. I will have to remember to keep attending church like the Jimmy Stewart character in "Shenandoah," honoring his late wife's wishes. Stewart would sometimes go to his wife's gravesite and "converse" with her. I asked Del Sarlette once whether this kind of thing is normal or proper. Del said "yes" but he added: "Don't get too carried away with it."
Aunt Mildred was cremated and there was no service and not even an obituary. I will have no problems going that route again.
People come and go in this life. But our Radarage cooker is certain to go on forever, just like the cockroaches and Cher (according to the old joke). Indeed, contemporary products are made more complicated than their predecessors. Dave Barry wrote a column about this. He was inspired by an article he read quoting industry leaders lamenting the fact that consumers don't seem to spend enough time reading their owner's manuals. Barry sided with the consumers, writing that "products are made with too many functions, whereas people buy them to do one or two things." He talked about the "picture within a picture" feature of TVs made at the time. "It's hard enough to find one good thing to watch on TV," Barry quipped.
(Remember how "Radarage" inspired a bit of humor in the movie "Airplane?")
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

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