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Monday, January 17, 2005

Bye Granny 

I am the oldest grandchild on both sides of my family. I didn't see that much of my dad's folks since Grandpa was a Lutheran Pastor who kept getting called by The Lord to minister to congregations way out in the wilds of the Dakotas. But my mom's parents owned a medium sized family farm in Pope County, Minnesota. I spent a lot of time there. My first driving experience occurred when I was eleven (in the mid-70s) and one of my uncles taught me how to drive Papa's 1938 International Farmall H tractor. When I was in High School I was such a dweeb that my idea of fun was to go to Minnesota and work on the farm all summer and see no one my own age for months at a time. It was at that time that I realized I had no where to go but up in my working life; I was ankle deep in pig shit in a barn shovelling said excrement into a manure spreader. So, yes, Internets, Hank has shoveled shit for money. I think the only lower level would be if the excrement came from people. Farms being the dangerous places that they are I had a couple or three Brushes With Death. I learned how to shoot guns and bail hay. It was a hoot.

Papa died years ago from the complications that come with Alzheimer's. Granny died a few days ago. Of all her grandkids I probably knew her the best since I lived in her house, cumulatively for a couple years. She was tough and mean. According to one of my aunts, after she and Granny's son announced their engagement Granny informed her that none of her sons had yet had to get married and it better not start now. Once when I was taking a break from painting the barn or bailing hay, or chasing the cows or something she said, "Craig, I can see two rabbits in the yard." Internets, you're probably thinking this is going to be cute, aren't you? Granny continued, "They're heading for my garden." Uh oh Internets, that's not a good sign. She finished with, "Kill them." Naturally, being a good grandchild, I did. Did I mention that the farm cats loved me? They did. One of my tasks was to keep the rabbits out of the garden and the squirrels out of the corn cribs. Cats really like rabbits and squirrels.

Granny left us on her own terms. She'd been sick in the Home for years. She had diabetes; she couldn't really see; she could hardly hear; she'd had at least one stroke. About a month ago she told the doctor she'd had enough and that she didn't want to take any more medicine. He agreed and one night last week she didn't wake up.

Granny's funeral isn't for more than a week after she died, due I'm sure to the fact that it's been so cold that it's taking that long to thaw the ground out enough to dig the hole. Good timing Granny. I'm going to miss you.

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