Hydrangeas

Hydrangeas
Blue, blue, blue

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Ethan Martin's Memorial Celebration



Form the Lewiston Morning Tribune, August 18, 2012:  The sobs of a grieving mother cut through the silence as the remains of Army Spc. Ethan J. Martin came home Friday. Hundreds of people turned out to show their respect to the fallen soldier at the Sandpoint Airport as the Army officially transferred Martin's body to the custody of his family.

A 2009 Lewiston High School graduate, Martin died in Korgay, Afghanistan, last week after his unit came under enemy small- arms fire. His body arrived on a chartered flight from Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, and was then carried by members of the Idaho National Guard honor guard to a waiting hearse. Martin's parents are Kristie and Bob Surprenant of Lewiston and Harv and Pam Martin of Bonners Ferry. Family members stood stoically as they waited for the airplane to land shortly after 10:30 a.m., but several embraced and broke down in tears as its wheels touched down on Idaho soil. Martin's immediate family then gathered around, laying their hands on Old Glory and wrapping their arms around one another. The only sound that could be heard over the anguished cries of loved ones was the flapping of a nearby American flag that was lowered to half-staff.



Sobs filled the Salvation Army sanctuary today when the Lewiston FireFighters played Amazing Grace and TAPS on the bagpipes.  I think everyone in the church grabbed a tissue.   Most of the music played during the service brought tears to my eyes. The family chose music and artists that Ethan enjoyed. Singers like Garth Brooks and Reba McIntrye know how to touch emotions anyway, but more so today as their words reminded us of  this young soldier.  


Captain Ralph Guthrie, from the Salvation Army, read from John's Gospel, 15:13:  "There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends."  Those words truly reminded me of the sacrifice this young man made so we could enjoy our freedom.  A veteran, Howard Norsksog, read two poems that generated even more tears to those listening to his deep, booming voice.  Ethan's sister courageously read a poem by Linda White, sent to her mother, Kristi.

For a very short while God gave us our son.  He put a bit of heaven in the sunshine of his smile.
He took the dust from the brightest twinkling stars, and made his sparkling eyes.
And now, he's gone back home to God, to play up in the skies.
And though he left so quickly that our heart is grieved and sad, 
we know he lives with God and His large heart is glad.

The residents and staff from Juniper Meadows sat in a reserved section of the sanctuary.  One by one the residents greeted, Kristi, a caregiver who assisted them with their medications and gave them hugs every morning for over five years.  Now it seemed like it was their turn to return the hugs.  

Last week I sent out a quick EMail asking for food donations to be served at the celebration.  My Oblate Community and 4th Day of Grace donated 12 salads and three large batches of cookies.  I prayed for the family with every celery chop, with every cookie drop.  Sometimes it makes me feel connected to the family's grief and pain as I prepare food for them to share.  The staff from Juniper Meadows told me Ethan's family was overwhelmed with the outpouring of food donations and the turnout at the memorial service.  Kristi had asked the media to give them privacy during the celebration so I refrained from taking pictures myself.  Kristi told me that people lined the highway all the way from Sandpoint to Bonners Ferry waving flags and supportive signs.  I cannot imagine the pain this mother is feeling, but I did get a sense of her gratefulness as she spoke about the outpouring of love to Ethan's family.  


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Blackberries and Bike Riding

I loaded up my bike this morning and headed up to Juliaetta, about 23 miles form Lewiston.  I remember seeing lots of blackberry bushes along the road on previous trips so I had a little cooler with some ice, buckets, and a long-sleeved shirt.  I found a nice place to get off the road and began picking.  Why is it the best berries are either too high to reach or sort of inside the plant?


Sometimes it seemed like I was invading the space of the plant and the sticker bushes grabbed onto my sleeve in silence.  But the words I heard were, "just what to you think you've doing here?"  Gratefully I picked in the shade and early enough that the yellow jackets were still sleeping.  I couldn't help thinking about my Mom who picked gallons of these berries down along the Salmon River.  I wish I could ask her.  "Did you go to all that trouble because you loved the challenge of the hunt for the perfect patch?  Or because you loved being outdoors in the scorching August heat, along with the yellow jackets and a few snakes?  Or because you needed some free food to feed your family?  Or because you just plain loved the berries and jelly you made?"  I thought to myself, "I could just buy these berries...why am I doing this?"
I gave up after 30 minutes and headed for the beginning of the bike trail along Potlatch Creek.
I used the restroom at this Centennial Park.  I couldn't believe how well maintained it is, with flower beds, a playground, volleyball court and baseball fields.  I think most communities in Idaho developed a park to celebrate Idaho's centennial in 1992, but this one is really nice.  Obviously, members of the community have a lot of pride and continue to take loving care of it - 20 years later.

The bike trail is called Ed Corgill Memorial River Trail.  Once a conduit that delivered new residents and new energy to the communities of Kendrick and Juliaetta, a 5.3-mile stretch of rail line fell victim to a changing economy and transportation system in the mid-1980s. It served the communities well, transporting passengers, produce, and timber products for more than 75 years. Abandoned and virtually lifeless, the path along the Potlatch River northeast of Lewiston seemed ready for nature to reclaim as its own. But members of the Juliaetta-Kendrick Recreation District board envisioned a new destiny - converting the rail bed into a path for runners, walkers, bike riders and skaters. Today, the Kendrick-Juliaetta Recreation Trail is 5.3 miles of smooth asphalt, providing a recreational and alternative transportation connection between these two communities in Latah County. The Juliaetta end features Centennial Park, and there are restroom facilities at both ends of the trail. The trail runs between Highway 3 and the Potlatch River and is fairly scenic in some spots. Bald eagles or osprey can be seen along the trail. Like many rail-trails, the Kendrick-Juliaetta Recreation Trail provides a very level surface for trail users, with no hills along the trail's entire route.



I enjoyed the bike ride and reading a little history along the way.  I chuckled when I read the last sentence - the cost to ride from Kendrick to Juliaetta in 1910 was 10 cents one way and fifteen cents round trip!  I realized how important the railroad must've been to all these little towns in the early 1900's.  I discovered lots of berries on the trail that were bigger and easier to pick, but darn it, I forgot the bucket.  The trail seemed to come to a halt at the three mile mark.
I'm not sure why this part of the trail is filled with boulders, but I had to turn around so I went back to my car, loaded it up, and drove to another spot where I could easily get back on my bike, this time with my bucket!  I picked another pint of berries!  I noticed the trail again as I drove to Kendrick, but by this time I decided to save this part of the trail for another day.  There are still lots of red berries, so I'll be smarter about picking them next time.  


















The culmination of the day - a baked pie-like dessert and let me tell you it was all worth it!

Anne, Duane, and Colin came to dinner before the School House Rock performance at the Lewiston Civic Theatre and we enjoyed the warm dessert with vanilla ice cream!  Yummy!!


The joys of summer, celebrating time with family, enjoying the fruits of God's creation!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Happy Birthday Allan

I  was almost five years old when Allan was born and remember very little about his birth, except that Grandma Hoene came from Illinois to Idaho to help take care of us.  And I really missed my Mom because Grandma was cranky.  I probably asked Dad day after day when Mom was getting out of the hospital because Grandma seemed so mean.  I do remember Mom telling people how happy she was to have a baby boy after the three girls.  I'd only ever seen baby girls clothes - dresses, sweaters, and hats. I'd never seen rompers, pants, and T-shirts.  I'm quite certain we sisters treated him like a baby doll and later made him play "house" with us.

I do remember Allan's first birthday, but not who may've had a camera to take this picture.  Mom made the cake and then took it outside and set it on the lawn and let Allan crawl toward it.  He performed for us by getting his hands full of cake and frosting.

I think this picture was taken by a professional photographer.  Mom made our dresses and she probably was grateful there was one boy so she only had to make three dresses.  I think they were red and white .
I doubt if Mom and Dad even owned a camera back then - picture taking was rare in the early 1950's.  Mom treasured her pictures and photo albums and we kids loved it when she got them out and let us look through them.  The albums were stored under the drawers in hallway "linen" closet.  It was an ordeal just to get them out.

This picture may have been taken the same day, only outdoors and with our Dad.

This Christmas was the beginning of Allan's handyman experience - finally he had a younger brother to  get him away from playing with dolls.



Happy Birthday, Allan, 1958

As much a picture of Allan as a picture of the old cabinets, that he so joyfully got to rip out!

Maybe painting barrels for the Cottonwood Park?
Allan graduated from high school in 1969 - at the height of the Vietnam War.  He made a wise decision to join the Navy with the hope he'd get GI benefits to pay for his college education.  
Mom insisted we get a family picture taken before Allan left for the Navy all the while praying he'd come back home and not be a war casualty.

Allan wrote such great letters while he was in the Navy.  The letters exposed us back home to the larger world with his stops in Singapore and Hawaii.  Allan wanted to shop for all of us while he was overseas and that's how we got our Pentax camera, Mom and Carole got real china, and his brothers got to take care of a reel-to-reel music system, and we all got wooden salad bowls.  He spent most of his time on an aircraft carrier so getting to real land was a serious reward. I'm so grateful the way Allan shared his experiences with us.  

When Allan got out of the Navy he joined our brother Don at the University of Idaho, graduating with a degree in Electrical Engineering in 1980, on the day Mt. St. Helen's blew up.  Allan married a California girl, Lisa, and he's only returned to Idaho for family visits and vacations.  I admire his ability to remember details and conversations from years past.  Whenever I talk to him on the phone he asks about my kids, the grandkids and all our siblings.  He added another dimension to the Kopczynski reunion in McCall this summer with his great conversations and memory.  

Men in Blue!

Happy Birthday Allan!  I pray that you'll enjoy many more and secure that job we've all be praying for!


Friday, August 10, 2012

Bike Trip on the Coeur d'Alene Trail

My sister, Connie, received a new bicycle for Christmas so Karen and I made a date to ride with her on the Coeur d'Alene Trail.  It is one of many rails to trails, built on former Railroad beds.  We parked in Heyburn State Park with a goal to ride to Harrison and have ice cream.  It took us awhile to get her new bike loaded on my rack and before we even got to Moscow we decided we'd better stop at Follett's and get another bar so our bikes would ride well together.  Good thing we did, because my bike tires were almost flat and the young man ensured our bikes were secure on the rack.

More than just the ride, Karen, Connie and I needed some special sister time






It was a glorious day and we decided to take our time so we stopped and took lots of pictures.




Ah, sweet Success!


We enjoyed Salmon Caesar Salads at the Gateway Marina


Not only did we have a great ride, we had time to reflect on our blessings, share concerns about our children, and plan our next Sister's Weekend.

A highlight for me was listening to Connie tell Garry how much she enjoyed the day.  "When we first started all I could do was look down at the path, but on the way back to the State Park, I looked around and noticed the Lake and all the beautiful scenery.  And my butt is not even sore."   

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Happy Birthday Larry

I was just 14 when Larry was born - getting ready to move into high school a St. Gertrude's Academy.  My mother insisted that I leave her and the new baby and spend a week with my Aunt Doriene who delivered her fifth child, Melinda, on August 10th.  I really wanted to bond with my new baby brother but instead suffered the agony of pleasing Uncle Joe, herding the Jacobs kids, and being so scared when Aunt Doriene started hemorrhaging.  I guess, as a peace offering, Mom chose me to be Larry's godmother with my cousin, Jim Reed, as the godfather.  I really never did spend much time at home after Larry was born because my "job" was to live with my aunt and uncle, Johanna and Ben Engel.  They paid me $30/month to cook and clean for them during the week.  I spent weekends at home, but that wasn't much time to bond with Larry because I had a steady boyfriend and life was all about being a teenager in the early 1960's.

My brothers and sisters remember how much I acted like a foolish teenager in those days, even screaming when the Beatles were on the Ed Sullivan show in 1962.  Do they remember this new dance craze and how all my girlfriends realized we could dance and didn't even need a partner for this one?   It was the most popular song when Larry was born in August, 1960.



I remember how twisted or upside down our Christmas celebration was in 1965 when I'd been earning money from a real job for several months and I couldn't wait to give Larry the most popular toy that season, A Talking Bugs Bunny!  You pulled a string and among other things this stuffed animal-toy said, "What's up Doc?"  I can still see Larry laying on the couch the whole Christmas season because he was sick and he barely even looked at this great gift!  I found this picture from a website called Collectible Toys and the Bugs Bunny is now worth $225!  I probably paid $3.95 or less for it 47 years ago.  Larry and I talked today about our expectations and how often we are disappointed when we set our expectations too high.  As I recall I wasn't as much concerned about Larry's health that Christmas as I was disappointed that he couldn't enjoy the Bugs Bunny chatter!  How childish!




Look how handsome Larry was for my wedding in 1966!

After I left home and got married my brothers and sisters often called each other by nicknames.  Why would anyone call this sweet child Wimpy?   The older brothers teased Larry mercilessly when they were still at home and I always wanted to come to his defense.  Larry had to find his own way through the maze of life in Cottonwood and I remember how he consumed himself with old radios, tearing them apart and rebuilding them.  The basement became his workshop and he could get all the old stuff he needed from the Electric Shop.  Later he "graduated" from radios to music, enjoying Allan's reel to reel tape player during the time he was in the Navy.  Larry still enjoys music and has made many CDs for me over the years, including wonderful Christmas music.  His high school years were filled with hours of work in the dark room at Prairie High School developing and printing pictures for the yearbook.  All these early interests led him to an Electrical Engineering Degree, a vision for Locomotive Park in Lewiston and a love for photography.  Those projects prove he didn't deserve to be called Wimpy!



The bedroom Larry shared with his brothers

Larry and Don during the kitchen remodel project!

Larry and I bonded several times over the next 40 years.  He sent me the sweetest cards and notes that I have squirreled away somewhere.  He took thousands of pictures over the years, but this is one of my favorites.   I think Karen was about four years old!


Larry helped us put in the sprinkler system when we bought our Clarkston house in 1977.  He also helped us plant 10,000 trees in our vacant lots, probably in 1979.  When we sold our Clarkston Heights home in 1990 we moved into Grandma Tillie's house, but then her house sold and we were basically homeless, so Larry invited us to live with him.  He was single then and had 3 bedrooms so Karen, Roy, and I moved in with him until we moved to Boise in April, 1991.  Ironically Larry's children all attended elementary school in Clarkston and he said many times he wished he'd have purchased our house instead of the one in Lewiston!  We shared many moments over the last 20 years, but nothing as emotional as the day our Mom died.  He called me around noon at Juniper Meadows and said that he'd expected Mom for lunch at 11:30 and he was concerned because she was "never late."  He called again at the same time the police officers walked into Juniper Meadows with the news about our Mom's accident.  We spent the next several hours together phoning all our brothers and sisters, aunts and cousins in Illinois.  The next day we headed up to Cottonwood together to get into the house and begin planning the funeral.  I'm grateful Larry's office was so close to Juniper Meadows and that we were able to be together for the next several hours when we often looked at each other and said, "we don't know what to do." 
When I retired from Juniper Meadows Larry knew what to do...he hired me to work for Edward Jones when Mary Kay was out of the office.  I was a little apprehensive and he said, "you just have to answer the phone and listen to old people."  It's been another great experience - a retirement career and opportunity to watch him interact with people.  


This trip down memory lane brings intense feelings of gratitude for the moments we've shared over the years.  Larry, my retirement boss, my financial advisor, my god son, my inspiration, my brother.  Thank you for being who you are, for sharing your faith, and for treasuring memories and trinkets!  God bless!