Saturday, July 31, 2010


My best friend growing up was Colleen McDemott, grade school through high school. We lost regular contact after graduation, but saw each other now and then. My mother told me that she had heard Colleen had a disease that was probably fatal. I'd just had Nik and decided to wait until I had time to write her a nice long letter rather than just a note. A few weeks later my mother called to tell me that my sweet friend had fallen down some stairs, gone into a coma and passed away. I was filled with regret that I hadn't just found her phone number or dropped her a card rather than waiting to do it "right." It haunted me for years but did motivate me to pick things up a notch and respond more timely. I had a wonderful visit with her parents a few years back before they passed away, and they were as sweet as ever.

Eleven days ago my daughter in law, Dayna, called to tell me that my former sister-in-law had been ambulanced from Vernal to the Provo Hospital with cancer and was only expected to live five more days. I just happened to have that afternoon off so rounded up Nik and my granddaughter and went down to the hospital. I wasn't sure what reception I would get after 17 years but decided it didn't was worth a try since I'd always thought she was a sweetheart. I gingerly walked into her room and was greeted by a big "KAY, how good to see you!" She gave me a wonderful 20-second hug and we visited like old friends for half an hour or so. They hadn't run tests yet and she didn't know the diagnosis, so it was a positive experience. She certainly didn't seem like someone who only had a few days left on earth.

The next day they ran tests, found it throughout her body and started chemo Thursday. She got steadily worse, slipped into a coma and passed away last night. It made me feel good not to have waited, because there would never have been another opportunity to visit with her before it was too late. Two nights ago I couldn't sleep because I hurt all over so was just lying there thinking. The most incredible thought came to me. It wasn't just that I had made a quicker response, though that was a big deal. I realized that both of these women were named Colleen, the only two Colleens I have ever known. Quite the coincidence, huh?

It was as if it were a gift from Heaven, a comfort from my old friend to fill that hole that never would fill. Finally, after 29 years, I can let that sorrow go.

My condolences to Dennis and family at this sad time for them. God bless.

Friday, July 9, 2010


Well...almost, anyway. I'm not sure if it's Mickey or Minnie personally visiting our house, hopefully just one or the other.

Yesterday while I was at work, my visiting granddaughter sent me an email and started the following conversation:

"I had to get on to tell you, YOUR KITTY BROUGHT IN A MOUSE! The good news is I safed it but the bad news is it's still inside your house...."

Me: "Do you know where it is? "

She: "Under the couch, It is soooooooooooo cute!"

Me: "Well, try to scoot it out with a broom or something ok? It's better to let her get it so it doesn't die in the house and rot."

She: "I was going to move the couch and let her get it. She is trying don't worry. And the door is open so it can run out." (She apparently wants both of them to live happily ever after, just like at Disneyland.)

Last night after I got home from work, Kyle, who was unaware of the day's scenario, casually mentioned: "Mom, by the way, there's a mouse in my room." I said, "So
that's where it went! Swirl had it." He said: "No, this one's alive." (Such is Swirl's remarkable reputation for causing mice demise.) I said: "No, Teelay tried to save it." That lead him to a discussion with her on feline instincts and not interrupting the cycle of life.

I told Kyle maybe he should let Swirl sleep in his room last night. He declined, and I fear Mickey/Minnie is still visiting us...perhaps seeking some weekend party rate.

As for me, I'm keeping the door to my room shut 'round the clock til further notice.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Those Loaf Things

While driving through almost the entire State of Utah this past weekend, I saw a lot of hay fields, no doubt "first crop". The first crop was the heaviest and came in June. The second crop was ready 4-6 weeks later. If you were lucky you got a third and perhaps tiny fourth crop; then it was into hauling straw after the fall grain harvest. Hauling straw makes you feel very strong.

The memories took me back. The hay-hauling itself doesn't hold any good spots in the memory bank, and thankfully I don't remember the time before baling, the days of derricks and forks and farmhands stacking it by hand. It was SO much work, always SO hot, and seemed SO thankless. There were always leaves flying down your neck and pokey things scraping you and sometimes the twine would give way and you'd have a big mess to gather up. Those alfalfa bales could weigh a horrendous amount if packed tightly. Some of them were even hard to roll. Dad used to try to make smaller bales, "lady bales", or something he called them. We got good at loading them and tying the special knot on the back of the load. He was proud of us, not a slacker in the bunch. It was always such a roll of the dice as to whether or not it would rain at the wrong time, or hail or blow, or all three. If you stacked bales that had moisture in them, your haystack and barn could all burn down from heat they could rot and make the cows sick. (Farmers don't have it easy.)

Anyway, it was so fun to see Dad out cutting down the hay. Raking it was easy, since you got to ride the tractor all day. The hardest part of raking was not getting sunburned. The smell of newly-mown hay is wonderful, better than fresh cut lawn even. (I suspect this is why I splurged and bought my red riding mower a few years ago, all the fun part and none of the work, simulated farming if you will.)

The gigantic bales of hay out in the fields from this weekend, created by special gigantic machinery, reminded me of a comment somebody once made: "What are those big loaves doing out in the field there?" It made me laugh.