We buried the mother of a friend yesterday. Wind chill was only minus thirty.
The wife of the former pastor of our Lutheran church passed away over the weekend. Her son, whom I have referred to in this blog as SonovaPreacherMan, is one of my best friends in this small town. His family and my extended family have been close for years. So yesterday my cousin The Singing Farmer and I drove to Minot for the funeral. Then we returned back home. Burial was at the cemetery just outside of town. And yeah, it was a little nippy out.
It’s almost fitting that these old timers get buried in brutal temps. After all, they spent so much of their lives in adverse weather. My dad was buried on a day when the actual temperature was minus twenty and the wind chill in daylight was below minus fifty. The pastor was of course the father of my good friend. That’s as close to a full circle as you get in real life.
The woman we buried was originally from Long Island NY. She was loud, caring, sassy, and compassionate. Her presence served to animate a staid congregation in the 70s and 80s. I cannot imagine the culture shock she endured moving from NYC to series of small towns in North Dakota but you never heard her complain. She endured a lot of medical issues as most eighty-somethings did, for one thing finding it difficult to communicate and didn’t recognize familiar faces. At the interment of her husband, she had somehow got separated from the family and was struggling to walk across the wet grass. Me and my cousin had just pulled up and ran out to catch up with her. When we took an arm on either side she turned her head to look at each us, nodded, and stammered, “well you two I sure know!” A light has gone out from this small town.
Yesterday I tried to start the Family Truckster for the drive out to the cemetery but it was as dead as the cemetery’s residents. So I fired up the Mercury Land Yacht (TM). The old Merc is a piece of crap on packed snow and ice. I managed to get myself hung up a couple times because the rear wheel drive would only slide and spin. But hey, it started.
Today I went out to start the Land Yacht for a quick supply run to Williston. The engine wouldn’t even turn over. So we’re stuck until I can get a battery charger on both of these vehicles. Tomorrow I have to run a family member (in their car) to one of the local hospitals for that special procedure you have to have when you get to a certain age. You know, the butt one. So I’ll pick up a few groceries then. We’ll be fine and next week will be significantly warmer.
Until then, we’ll hibernate. And think of old friends.