One of my earliest memories of her is at a family reunion. We were visiting at Grandpa’s farm and her twin daughters woke up from a nap, about 2 years old, and came to find her. Without a pause in her conversation, she just shifted in the rocker and took one warm, snuggly little one on each knee and pulled them in close in that timeless comforting hug-but this time magnified by two. What a lot of love she had to give, and there was always extra to share.
At that same reunion, she was working in the old kitchen at Grandpa’s place, where the drinking water came into the kitchen in a bucket from the nearby well and you ladled it out with a dipper. She had a big old enameled dishpan and was making a huge batch of the best feathery light, delicious cinnamon rolls with the stickiest frosting ever. Heaven!
She and Uncle Ray spent their off time hunting in the mountains of Montana, and we always heard stories of how much she enjoyed those times in the woods. One of her favorite trips, she told about bringing an elk back down the mountain on a toboggan and riding along as it slid downhill. She could cook anything he shot, and deliciously too!
In their later years together, they camped near a beautiful lake, going out to catch their limit of fish in the morning, back to the camper to clean, cut up, fill canning jars with the fish, and process them for later eating, then going back out onto the lake in the afternoon to start over. That fresh clean water salmon was delicious, right out of the jar.
She sewed anything, from sleeping bags to wedding dresses to underwear, and with style, too. In later years, she became an avid quilter, and made and gave away hundreds of quilts. It’s really nice to think of all those quilts that she made out there in homes, bringing warmth and beauty and good memories to all of us who treasure them, and her.
I’m lucky enough to have two, and they’re among my most prized possessions. The first she made specifically for me. It’s huge, big enough for a king sized bed, and she made sure that I knew that this was to be USED, not saved for good. One side was a sedate, cool pastel green floral pattern, and the other, my favorite, is a riot of colors and shapes. Bright vivid reds and all kinds of varied designs. She told me the story of each patch, including the red, white and blue flag patch she made on 9/11 while watching the stories on tv of the disaster. So much life in one place.
The second quilt is a smaller one, that just fits on the bed in our camper, so it goes with us on every trip we make. She made a quilt each year to bring to the family reunion craft exchange and last year in
She has known for a while that her health was failing, and made the decisions she needed to make to face it in her own style. When the end came, she was surrounded by those she loved, all who could make it there, and with church members singing her favorite hymns in the background.
What a woman! What a life. We'll all miss her. I know there’s nothing I can say to ease the pain of her wonderful, caring family, but hope they know that our thoughts are with them, and our love.