My mom passed away last week. I found myself wanting to call her yesterday even though she’s been in St. Anthony Village with dementia for about seven years and wouldn’t even know what a phone was. We’ve had our ups and downs over the years, but she was a strong and talented woman who loved to dance and listen to music. Especially 40’s music. She once was pulled up on stage with the Ritz Brothers to dance with them. That night she was wearing an angora sweater and the band, acting silly, pretended to pull fluffs of angora off of their suits the rest of the night. She was buried at Rose City Cemetery with a view of Stanich’s Restaurant and Sports Bar…something she would like. She loved northeast Portland, the Rose Festival and living in Oregon. Born in Nebraska she was with the part of our family that moved out to the Northwest to live in the late 1940’s. I’ve been trying to write some sort of epitaph for her. She was a realtor, worked for the US Forest Service and a mother and housewife. I found all sorts of smalchy poems and epitaphs but found the lyrics from one of her favorite Glenn Miller songs most appropriate. She adored Glenn Miller and his music.
Pardon me boys, is that the Chattanooga Choo Choo?
(Yes Yes) Track 29
Boy you can give me a shine
(Can you afford to board, the Chattanooga Choo Choo?)
I’ve got my fare
And just a trifle to spare
There’s gonna be a certain party at the station
Satin and Lace
I used to call funny face.
She’s gonna cry
Until I tell her that I’ll never roam
(So Chattanooga Choo Choo)
Won’t you choo choo me home.
Margaret West Erickson 1924-2012
Thanks to everyone who helped me care for her over the years. St. Anthony Village was one great “swingin'” place. She had the best care anyone could want.
I think it’s finally showing a little bit of spring here in Timber Valley. First came a huge windstorm on Monday night. We had winds of over 65 miles an hour. That doesn’t happen here often. One BIG tree fell across Frontier Road and had to be chopped up and moved out of the way of the traffic…as if we had much traffic. I was inside watching branches fall, calling to Cody to come in before he “got his head bonked with a humongous branch” (my exact words) But he loved the feel of the wind in his face like all of us mountain people. So he stayed out until he heard the call for treats. Then he ran inside by the fire. There was also a 30 degree temperature outside.
The day after the storm everything started to bloom and push out of the ground. Solomon Seals, given to me by one of my favorite watercolor students, Nancy Rooper are pushing up. I really didn’t think they would come up with the weather being what it is here. Daffodils of course are starting to bloom. Everything is coming alive. I haven’t planted much yet since the mountain environment changes so quickly. This year I’m trying some Chinese Lanterns and more Bleeding Hearts. We have so much shade it’s hard to find space.
Miniature gardens are growing everywhere in the front of our cabin. Little forests of tiny Douglas Firs all coming up at the same time. I wish I could shrink down and explore these little worlds.
Students remember to sign up now for my “Avatar” class at The Dalles Art Center. Call me with questions at 509-365-5119.