A Family Reunited

Families are very special. They come together through the marriage of two young loves, they grow and change, they drift apart and then come running back together. Recently we had the great joy of attending two family reunions in one weekend. On Saturday, we caught up with the maternal side of Husband Goose’s family. Unfortunately, I have no pictures to prove it….But the good news is that they get together every year at this time, and so we will be seeing them again in less than twelve months.

The very next day we were reunited with the paternal side of Husband Goose’s family. Again, a wonderfully fun time and especially special because these cousins haven’t had a reunion in more than ten years! You might be able to spot Mother Goose in this picture as she looks completely different from the rest of the family.

The Cramers

Another reason I post this story today is to ask for your prayers for Aunt Charlotte, the beautiful 70-something lady in the center of the picture. Since this picture was taken ten days ago, Aunt Char has been diagnosed with a very aggressive form of thyroid cancer.

Aunt Char is on the left, and sister Suzanne is on the right. Suzanne was the flower girl for Aunt Charlotte’s wedding fifty three years ago. They are both still as beautiful as on that day long ago.

Friends, we are praying for a miracle. This is looking very serious from any sort of a treatment standpoint. We just really need a miracle for Aunt Char and the family. Will you please pray with us?

With love, Mother Goose

Fred and Eleanor — Together Forever

My grandfather was too young to be a grampa, and he remained Uncle Fred even when he was eligible to join the local senior citizen club. They lived in the north country near a community named after the socialist Eugene V. Debs. Mother Goose never understood why the Norwegian farming citizens of this area in northern Minnesota loved Debs so much that they named their town after him. They had a store, a school, a couple of churches and not much else. To this day, on the 4th of July they run their parade through the town twice just to make the experience last… But I do digress.

Uncle Fred was very active in the Seniors’ club. He donated paintings to their auctions and benefits and fundraisers. He baked pies for their monthly functions. They especially liked when he was the entertainment at their meetings — he would recite poems that they loved (Casey at the Bat, The Village Blacksmith, Hiawatha) and, of course, he’d play the piano and sing.

He never ate a beet in his life — said they’d turn his blood purple.

Fred and Eleanor traveled extensively. They toured the south, the northeast, the northwest, Alaska and Hawaii. They loved Germany and Mexico. To Grandma’s chagrin, Uncle Fred would wear his toupe when they traveled. She’d tell him, “You just want people to think you’re much younger than me.” He would purposely wear it off to the side…

Fred, dashing and debonair, and Grandma, always sweet.

Mother Goose lived with them on and off through the years. When my own parents didn’t know what to do with me, I’d end up staying with Uncle Fred and Grandma. He told stories about the railroad. The same old stories, the same old characters, day after day… We would roll our eyes. He never missed an episode of Scooby Doo and could quote from the funnier shows. He was the first person in our family to own a computer — an Apple iMac.

He painted, played the piano, checked the mail, did his crossword puzzles, and told more stories. Uncle Fred reminded us every day how much he loved peanut butter. He’d take a thick slice of Grandma’s fresh bread, schmear about half a cup of peanut butter on it, then dip it into his tall glass of milk and dribble it to his mouth. “Hot diggety dog,” he’d call out. “I love peeeeeanut butter!” He sang songs about cream of wheat, cream of rice and cream of rye.

Often his repetitiveness and his bragging would irritate my humble, soft-spoken Grandma. They became very competitive in their painting and musical occupations. He would look over her shoulder when she was playing Scrabble and tell her what words he saw in her letters. He would try to “steal her thunder” but everybody knew that he got all of his strength and inspiration from her.

When Grandma died suddenly of a heart attack, Uncle Fred’s colorful world slowly turned gray and crumbled. His muse left for heavenly shores, and he couldn’t follow. During the family visitation, Fred asked for a scissors and went privately into the room where Grandma lay. He cut off a bit of his gray hair and left it with her. He also snipped off a curl of her soft chestnut hair for his own keeping. When he passed away four years later, my mother put the curl in the palm of his hand. His final loving wish granted — they would be together forever…

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