Monday, August 3, 2009

RIP Carl

R left end of last week for Wisconsin, because his father was in the hospital with a pneumonia, "the old person's friend" the doctors say, because it often is the cause of death in older folks. Carl passed away early on Saturday morning at the age of 89.

I have been turning the house upside-down since Saturday looking for the photos I have from our trips to Madison; we made an annual trip for Thanksgiving which was always poignant: the two old folks looking out the window waiting for our car; tears on arrival, tears on departure. We (R & I together) always cooked a big Thanksgiving dinner- turkey, pies and all the fixings; all in the oven early so we could eat dinner early afternoon per their schedule. We always brought See's Candy and a big pot of amaryllis bulbs starting to sprout, that they could enjoy during the winter and give us a regular phone update on the progress of the blooms. Carl was increasing frail physically but not mentally. He took three puffs on his cigarette then put it out, and answered my crossword questions perfectly, such as "Q: Alaskan dog sled" A: "Iditerod". He had little formal education, a child of Norweigan immigrants, but he was sharp and mathematically very talented, and built two of his houses himself.

I made nice album for Carl and Gladys of my photos from the woods and one of the Thanksgivings; there is a shot I have of R and Carl walking in the woods, all of us with our orange vests on as it was deer season; I took it from behind and they did not see me take it; that is the one I wanted for this post. Not that anyone would mistake a man in his 80's for a deer, but it's prudence, and possibly the law; mostly it's just what you do and even when you are in your 80's you like to follow the tradition. Men are at ease like that, in the wild; R had his arm on his Dad's shoulder in a very casual but supportive way. It made R a little mad that his Dad was so sweet and nice with me but tough on his boys when they were growing up; though he was tough on his boys, he also spoke to R religiously every Saturday over dozens of years; if he did not get a call, Carl would call in a Missing Person's report. I loved Carl for being a real, self-made man, and completely a "Character". I loved shopping for a nice sweater or a pair of really good socks for him for Christmas, and mostly I loved calling him from time to time; never a long conversation (the cost!), but always thrilled to get the call.

Miss you, Carl.....

I cried on Saturday when R called to give me the news. I suppose Carl was where he wanted to be; they carried him out from the home he built to the hospital. He has moved back home with Gladys after a time in a nursing home. Maybe when you get to 89 you don't fear death. Services pending. I will post the photo when I find it....
Carl was an excellent carpenter, and so as a placeholder here are some massive wooden church doors in Nuit St. George.

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