Thursday, October 13, 2016

Melinda is Back Home!

I flew back to Illinois the other day - the first time without Melinda in a while. After the memorial in AZ, my sister and her husband, who had driven down, offered to drive her cremains back to the Midwest. It saved a carry-on as well as the inevitable passage thru security even though I had the permits, so it was great Linda and Lauren could do that. Yesterday, with Melinda's friend Mary along for company, we drove west to Dixon, the halfway point between our house and Linda/Lauren in Morrison to pick her up. So last night Melinda got to enjoy her "Moss Cottage" (the alternate name for "Ketelsen East")once again. That is her in the golden enclosure at left among photos of her life - her nursing portrait, her sisters at Maj's wedding, with Dick and mother Alice in the rear. Even an angel statue seems to be welcoming her home.


The lonely ride back was made less lonely by an old coot of a rancher as my seat-mate. Shown at left, he at least dressed the part of a rancher with plaid shirt and 10 gallon hat. In our hours of chatting, while he admitted to riding a few horses (he explained at length the idea of the partnership of man and horse), I don't think he was a true rancher. But we did share stories of growing up on a farm - me in Iowa and he in Wisconsin. Amazingly, though we were a generation apart in age, we experienced the same work baling hay, cultivating corn, and chores with the farm animals. He was going back to visit his brothers and sister in Wisconsin - has been years since he'd been back...


The trip was uneventful. I thought I was smart by at least getting a window seat looking down-sun on the left side. Unfortunately, I was right over the wing, which limited the downward shooting. Other than a couple initial pictures of mountains near Tucson, I put the camera away. But as we circled over Lake Michigan for final approach to O'Hare, the Chicago skyline came into view and I grabbed the cell phone camera, taking a few shots. While not the sharpest views, at left the lakeside skyline is seen with the Willis Tower, tallest in the Midwest at top center. A few minutes later I shot again, catching another pair of planes coming in to land too. Nice O'Hare has enough runways that 3 planes can land at once! You can also spot that a few of the trees in the residential neighborhoods are just starting to turn...


With all the running around I've needed to do (funeral home, changing over bank accounts, insurance - STUFF), I've been trying to be good to myself too, so got the recumbent bike out my first morning and hit the local park for some pedal time. Amazingly, there was a quartet of sandhill cranes grazing right next to the bike path. Of course, if I'd been on foot, I'd likely not been able to get within 100 yards of them. But on my bike, I approached and stopped about 50 feet away! I was even able to "go wide" and get part of my bike in too...


I was out for a walk today, and while some trees are just starting to turn yellow and orange, it is peak season for sumac. They turn a stunning deep red or reddish/orange color and are quite striking against a blue sky or even remaining green vegetation. Looking back, I seem to photograph them nearly every year, but they are so pretty I can't stop...

So the plans are finalized for the final memorial at Malone's Funeral Home in Geneva Saturday at 3pm. I'm thinking we'll have a larger crowd than we had in Tucson. She had a LOT of friends and co-workers here she developed over the 50 years she spent in the Fox River Valley, so should be a good time to stop, reminisce and shed some tears. Meanwhile, I'll likely take a few pictures, and post some that might be of interest.

For a while, I'd considered stopping the blog. Melinda had started it right after our wedding in 2008. Even though she had migrated to Facebook and I took over the upkeep of the blog, I felt I needed her editorial support and approval that she gave reading each post. But even though most of you don't leave comments here, I've heard from many of you that it remains an interesting part of your internet reading. Plus sis-in-law Maj sez I've got to continue it. So the "Boss" has spoken and I'll guess I'll keep bloggin' if I can find things worth posting. In the meantime, I've also started a Facebook account, so if you haven't already, send along a friend request and I'll see you there too!

1 comment:

Teresa Lappin said...

I couldn't believe the bright red color of sumac when we went back to Illinois a few years ago. It is amazing. I understand the desire to photograph it.