Libby Baker Sweiger

Weaver of Everyday Tales

Archive for the category “Children”

Mom Wasn’t Big On TV Watching

As my mother grew older she became more spiritual. Now this is no small thing. She was pretty much a giant in the faith when I was pretty young. She ate up everything in sight in the Congregational Church having to do with God’s word and the teachings of Jesus. She went to bible studies and prayer groups just about every day.

When we came home from school some days the kitchen table was piled high with bibles, concordances, notes and journal jottings. She was not kidding around. She was going to be close to God and that was all there was to it.

Even though she has Alzheimers at 81, you can see the Spirit is still alive and well in her, still shining:

Mom in quiet reflection

She was on fire for God while I was in high school. She could tell if I was up to no good before I could and would be praying for me to change my mind.

One thing she couldn’t abide was TV watching, especially at the dinner table. She said we all turned into mesmerized zombies in front of the screen. I can’t remember which one of us had the guts one night to nudge the TV into the dining room to watch a favorite show during dinner.

Mom had been out all day praying with the women in various bible studies in the new church she was taking us too. They loved Jesus there, but were also very big on the Holy Spirit. I can’t believe I’m going to tell you this, because I don’t remember telling a soul about this night. Now you may chalk all this up to superstitious nonsense, but I’m not one to criticize a fired up mother who believes she has God on her side.

The four of us kids were eating our dinner and watching some lame, but favorite program on the TV we’d smuggled in. In bursts my mom from the kitchen through the swinging door and spots the TV. She shook her hand and the TV and said in a loud voice, “Come out of that television right now devil in the name of Jesus!” The TV went black the moment she said it, a little smoke came out of it and it died on the spot!

Well you never saw four more drop-jawed children in your life. Me most of all. I would laugh now, but I’ve never been able to bring myself to do it when I’m alone. Oh when the four of us have been together we’ve had a chuckle, but never in front of Mom.

She grew in our esteem that night. Our respect knew no bounds. You can argue coincidence or even trickery and I couldn’t prove you wrong. I have no explanation for an exploding old TV set that died on cue. But it tells you something about moms, single ones especially. You can push the envelope with them for just so long and then you’d better toe the line — because they will surely get help from God above to make their point — if you don’t listen to them!

At least, that’s the message I took away from the night. That and that my mom isn’t big on TV watching, especially with dinner!

Summer Vacations with Pop

Scott (4) Bill (6) George Lake Summer

“Summer night–
even the stars
are whispering to each other.”
― Kobayashi Issa

Summer nights, summer days. When I was a child I thought summers in Minnesota were just as long as the winters. They were packed with so much fun. My grandpa Pop, my dad’s dad took the four of us to Willmar, Minnesota where he lived to a beautiful lake with an inauspicious name: George for a long week every summer. He rented out a wonderful lake home and spoiled us rotten the week long. Here are my brothers on the deck. More often they would be found down on the dock fishing and I would be keeping an eye on them, or Pop would be fishing with them.

I polled my brother Scott and we cannot remember much adult supervision on these trips. My guess is that meant a grandparent was delightfully in charge. Pop was a wonderful man. He was tall and gentlemanly. He talked a lot and told great stories. He loved to take us for drives and when he came back from the grocery store, he always had with him GALLON containers of ice cream. This is how little my brothers were when they started eating their ice cream out of cereal bowls, not ice cream bowls…a tradition which is carried on in our family to this day.

I’m quite certain these wonderful vacations involved shared visitation by both of our parents, courtesy and all expenses paid for by Pop. Pop was not a rich man. He sold insurance for Waseca Mutual Insurance Company and lived in Willmar, MN. Willmar is a nice town, where Pop was well respected and had lots of friends.

Willmar also is host of a Presbyterian Church were my ex-husband did his internship for a year to graduate from seminary. I lived there when I was pregnant with my 1st. And it is there that little Shirley Deborah is buried. I made many terrific friends for the 13+ months we lived in Willmar and I can see their faces now. It was my only taste of small town life and I was lucky to live in that gracious, friendly place.

But, back to Pop. He was a fun, generous and nice grandpa. We enjoyed the vacations on the lake he gave to us and the added time spent with him and dad on the weekends. We loved fishing for the sunnies. Tanning on the diving deck. Puttering around in the fishing boat. And we really liked the cereal bowls full of ice cream!

I miss Pop. He was fun to talk to. Easy going and kind. He was a mellower version of my dad. He told longer stories. He reminds me a bit of my husband. People tease my husband Mike to speed up his stories and get to the point. But most days, I love the relaxing, not a care about time in the world-way he tells his tales. Just like Pop.

Pop finished out his days in Rio Verde, Arizona in the resort home my dad bought with the intention of someday retiring there. Pop was the caretaker and main host of this home, at some point seeming to forget it was dad’s. Dad didn’t make a fuss. He let his dad keep his dignity and we all acted when visiting as if good old Pop were picking up the whole tab again!

Christmas Mom-Style

“The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other. ”
— Burton Hillis

My Beautiful Regal Mom's Last Card 2009. Alzheimers, Still Knows Her Kids!

If my mom missed us on Christmas Eve, she never said so. We were over at my dad’s having an uproariously good time which I will tell you about. My mom stayed home alone on Christmas Eve and wrapped our gifts. She always built a fire in the fireplace for us to come home to. And made popcorn for us in a big wooden bowl with matching little bowls and hot chocolate. We all got to open a gift from her that night and we always knew what it would be: our new jammies.

We loved coming home on Christmas Eve to our cozy house and Mom. She loved Christmas and the whole biblical history of the night. Our crèche was out by the fireplace, our tree was decked out beautifully, a real one despite my mom’s allergies.

We would hug and all tell our story of being at dad’s and show mom our presents. She would exclaim over each one. Then we would open our Christmas Eve present from her and rush to put them on. We would all sit together by the fire and drink cocoa and mom would read the bible, about the very first Christmas. We would huddle together and drink in the warmth of the fire, hot chocolate and love. There weren’t any other presents around the three, for Santa hadn’t come yet.

Soon we’d say our good nights, hugs and kisses and go to bed. Mom stayed downstairs for a while. The next morning couldn’t come fast enough. We all had to wait at the top of the stairs until my grand parents arrived. They came with more presents perhaps, we couldn’t really see them, but I knew them so I’d say so! When we got the word — the four of us would charge down the stairs and into the living room for Christmas morning…It was beautiful, breath-taking.

Our stockings were stuffed and we opened them first. Santa had been generous (they were my mom’s favorite part!) And my grandparents brought more love into the house so that it was bursting with it. More gifts to spoil us with, their great smiles and laughter so that our Christmas morning overflowed with it.

Soon my grandmother left to go home to the huge turkey she had in the oven, my grandfather her always gentlemanly escort by her side. Later that day would be Christmas dinner with our wonderful matching cousins and more merriment than the heart could hold!

The Longest Run In Minnesota

“In the nineteenth century, Fritjof Nansen wrote that skiing washes civilization clean from our minds by dint of its exhilarating physicality. By extension, I believe that snow helps strip away the things that don’t matter. It leaves us thinking of little else but the greatness of nature, the place of our souls within it, and the dazzling whiteness that lies ahead.”
― Charlie English

Lutsen Ski Resort, North Shore Lake Superior, MN

My dad learned to ski in the army. That was probably the last place he’d skied. Thanks to him, my sister and I learned to ski at a local ski school and were pretty good at it. Suzy being a natural athlete, was better than I was, but we both raced for the ski school — so I wasn’t too shabby. Scott and Bill had taken lessons too, but hadn’t taken to the sport with the passion Suzy and I had.

For fun, dad took all of us to the Lutsen Resort up north for a weekend. We were thrilled to go. It wasn’t exactly a mountain, but the next best thing to it in Minnesota. They had a run that lasted one and a half miles! We were very excited, especially Suzy and I.

We broke up into groups. Suzy and I were skiing together and dad and the boys were on the beginner’s hill. I had never seen my dad ski before and I was amazed he could do it. I don’t want to be critical of his technique, but I’m sure he would be the first to admit he didn’t have any. But he wasn’t falling down. Not ever. I had never seen him do anything but excel at a sport so this was new. He did not want any of us giving him advice, pointers or help though that was for sure!

It was a glorious day. Not too cold and the sun was shining! Suzy and I were taking the chair lift to the top of the longest run and going down it as many times as we possibly could. I was finally starting to get a little tired and was standing at the bottom of the run. I noticed Billy and Scotty with our baby sister Sara and Betty up in the Chalet window and I wondered where Dad was. I knew Suzy had gone to take another run.

I was just looking around here and there for my dad. He was wearing a big brown parka with a hood and should be easy to spot. Suddenly from midway down the long run I saw his parka, and his stance on his skis. He was coming down the longest run in the state without a single technique to slow or impede his progress. He looked magnificent. He was standing on his skis without leaning too far forward or too far back — completely balanced. He had his body in a slight tuck which they may have taught him in the army or he was doing instinctively. It kept him from falling over backwards.

Nothing about the look of this determined balanced, almost graceful, certainly agile skier showed any indication that he was going down anything but the longest run. It did make you wonder a bit how he was going to stop.

Easily! He stayed to the left where the fewest people were and let inertia take over. He ran out of momentum and stopped. Nice run, Dad, I hollered. He smiled at me. What a perfect run. What a perfect day!

Spinning On The Brule River

“People travel to wonder
at the height of the mountains,
at the huge waves of the seas,
at the long course of the rivers,
at the vast compass of the ocean,
at the circular motion of the stars,
and yet they pass by themselves
without wondering. ”
― Aurelius Augustinus

My Dad Can Handle a Canoe

My dad was a great outdoorsman. Being raised in the great open country of South Dakota, he couldn’t stand being in a city for long. He’d have to go camping, fishing, or canoeing. One of them or all three. Of course, being a family man he’d take Suzy and I with him. Billy was still too young for the adventures, poor kid, so was Scotty.

I remember our trip into Wisconsin. We set up camp and it started to rain. We were all cozy and snug in our tent, having already eaten and had our fire. I love to watch my dad build a fire. And I loved to sleep in a sleeping bag. Suzy and I could snuggle and sleep in the same grown-up bag and stay very warm.

It was fun to camp with dad. He would tell us stories, not ghost stories. My dad hated what he called spook stories. He told us stories of his growing up with our Uncle Dick his little brother and his mom, Grandma Dorothy. His little brother was a big kid and a scrappy fighter. So he held his own if my dad and he ever fought. My dad always told these stories smiling and laughing so you knew it was all in fun and no one ever got hurt, except the time Dick got mad at my dad and threw a tin can at him in the back alley and cut his head open. We would squeal when he told us that because he told it with such good humor. He said he wasn’t mad at his brother. But the next night at dinner he thew a fork at him and it stuck in his fat cheek — wobbling up and down. Then we’d laugh uproariously because Dad was laughing until a tear came down his cheeks.

This may have been a tall tale, I don’t know. It’s hard to imagine two brothers who loved each other like my dad and Uncle Dick could ever carry on like that, but boys are different, so I don’t know. We sure laughed!

The next day we were going to take our canoe downstream to fish. We got up nice and early, had our breakfast and started on our way. Suzy and I were of course wearing life jackets. The water was a little high. We were in Wisconsin and I don’t remember if we knew how much rain they’d had that Spring or not. We were about half way there and our canoe hung up on a rock. We were caught pretty good. Dad was in the center, I was in the back and Suzy was in the bow. We started spinning on the rock. It was kind of like a ride in an amusement park, but a little scarier, because it was real. Dad said, “Poncho, Cisco, Hang on tight. I’m going to have to get out of the canoe for a minute and lift us off of this rock. Libby, you watch your little sister.” He used our pet names so we knew it was an adventure.

It sounded okay to me. I noticed Suzy’s eyes were a bit wide, so I waved at her. As I have said before, I have never felt fear in the presence of my dad and I didn’t that day. He gently eased himself out of the canoe. The water was deep. I was surprised by that. It was almost to his chest.

Then Dad asked us to lean our weight to middle of the canoe. Which we did, schrunching forward until we could touch our feet and hold on tight. He grabbed it in the middle and at the bow and worked with the water and pushed, pulled and lifted. We were off the rock! We were no longer spinning on the Brule River. We were moving, because my dad had the boat and he was taking us to shore.

When we got to shore we laid in the sun. My dad dried off a bit and took of his wet shirt. We just laid there and enjoyed the beauty of that early summer day. I always felt close to God on these excursions with dad. The beauty and power of His creation all around us.

We decided to fish right there and then bring the canoe back up to the car and head home a bit early. We were all in the mood to lay our eyes on Mom and Billy and by that time, little Scotty. They were happy to see us, too and to hear all about our adventure.

I thought that day my dad could to anything. As I got older my opinion didn’t change much. If it’s humanly possible, or even requires some help from God, Dad can do it. Because he tries. He loves his children and he looks out for them. He leads from the heart. He’s the same kind of grandfather as he is a father and we are all so fortunate to have him. Love you, Dad!

O Christmas Tree!

I love Christmas! To me it is a magical time of year. It always has been. The birth of baby Jesus — Savior of the world tops everything and is truly the reason for the season — but I’d like to talk about Christmas’ trappings for a bit. The little things that make a child’s Christmas never-to-be-forgotten. My dad was the master of Christmas magic! First of all we never went to a tree lot. From the time I was very young, old enough to walk through the snow and have dad carry Suzy on his shoulder we went out and chopped down our own tree.

Now maybe this was a common occurrence in those days for many people in rural Minnesota, but we were the only ones in our suburb carrying out this ritual. We had to drive a long distance to get to a tree farm. It was a long Dad Hike to find a tree worthy of our living room and decorations. It had to be magnificent! It was such an adventure every year. We waited with such anticipation and enjoyed every second of the day spent with my tall, handsome, knew-how-to-chop-down-a-tree dad!

We didn’t look at any of the little trees. They were not to be disturbed on the tree farm. We walked past them all until we found a tall one with a wider trunk. My dad knew the names of all the kinds of trees and just the kind we liked. Norway pines. They were a very pretty green and had long needles. They lasted a long time.

Finally our quest was over. My dad had spotted our tree! We ran over and found a good sized tree covered in snow. I held Suzy’s hand and we stood back. My dad took his ax out and started to chop down the tree. Now it’s a very easy matter to cut down a tree properly and push it the direction it should go when it’s time for it to topple. And my dad knew exactly how to do it. He would never risk knocking a tree over on one of his children, so it’s hard to imagine where they get this stuff they put in the movies. But I never felt any warnings of danger or mishap when my dad was around!

Soon Suzy and I were standing back further and Dad was giving the tree a nice little shove. TIMBER!!!!! We all yelled (the most fun part!) and down came our Christmas tree. Dad laid down parallel to the tree to measure 6 feet and then added a bit more in length for our living room. On cue Suzy and I followed suit and began making show angels. A small snowball fight and many giggles followed. Then back to the business of cutting the tree to the right length, tying a rope on the trunk and wrapping it around the branches so we could pull it back to the car.

When we got home after singing merrily in the car it was time for hot cocoa and Billy and Mom to join in the decorating after we untangled the lights and got the tree in it’s stand. Still my job to this day!

“Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree. In the eyes of children, they are all thirty feet tall.”
― Larry Wilde

Our Tree and Us

Six Little Cowboys

“Let us make one point, that we meet each other with a smile, when it is difficult to smile. Smile at each other, make time for each other in your family.”
― Mother Teresa

It was by brother Bill’s 50th Birthday Party. He didn’t look it. He didn’t act it. None of us were acting our age, it was a cowboy theme party! We were having a great time at my cousin Marnie’s house in Eagan with all my cousins assembled, my Aunt and Uncle, my sister Suzy, Sara was in Wisconsin, my mom and my dad and brothers Bill and Scott, and dad’s wife, my dear friend Patricia, who everyone called Trisha or Grandma Trish depending. We were all having a wonderful time and the cowboy hats and scarves were certainly helping.

It was so great to see my Dad and Uncle together. They had so much fun in the old days and every opportunity in between. Then Tricia started to gather my siblings for a picture with dad. We were shuffling around trying to follow direction and get into place and my mom saw us gathering for a picture and followed suit. Sweet Trish who was trying for a shot of dad and the kids shot this picture instead:

Middle (Me) Left: Suzy, Mom, Back: Scott, Dad and Bill on my right (6)

We all smiled! It was the first time in many years the six of us had been in the same picture together. Not by design, just by circumstance.

Here is the last picture taken of just the six of us:

Dad holding Scott, Bill, Mom holding Suzy, Me 🙂

My dear friend who I refuse to call step-anything, Trisha gave us a wonderful gift that day. Mom has dementia and doesn’t quite understand everything. The rest of us are very happy with the way life has turned out. Yet wasn’t it nice — on the day we all were together to celebrate my brother Bill and his matching cousin Muffy’s 50th birthday’s in our cowboy clothes — we were given a glimpse into the past and a moment of remembering?

It was a precious moment courtesy of one classy lady I call my friend. Thank you Patricia. You blessed our day. Hope we can do the same for you, next holiday! Love, Lib

Hardball with the Boys

“Baseball is the most perfect of games, solid, true, pure and precious as diamonds. If only life were so simple. Within the baselines anything can happen. Tides can reverse; oceans can open. That’s why they say, “the game is never over until the last man is out.” Colors can change, lives can alter, anything is possible in this gentle, flawless, loving game.”
― W.P. Kinsella, Shoeless Joe

Choke up on the bat, step into it and swing!

In our big house we had on the west side of the suburb we lived in, the new side, the boys played baseball in the street all summer long. The streets were new and made of cement, so I asked my dad and mom to get me a really thick pair of jeans, because I was going to play. They didn’t question me. I had played with the boys in our last neighborhood too, because I was very active and athletic — a tomboy as they called us in those days. So I informed the boys on the block that I was going to play baseball. “Shoot they said. “You gotta beat up every guy on this team to play with us.” They were pretty confident and laughed a little, because I was small and didn’t appear to have much meat on my bones. What they didn’t know was that I was determined, tough and wiry. So I fought each one of them, wrestled them to the ground and held them down until they said I could play. From then on we were teammates. We played every day of that hot summer in t-shirts and long jeans to protect at least our legs from the cement when sliding into home plate. I played first base because I had a good arm and I was fast — mentally and physically. One thing I wasn’t was a power hitter. I just couldn’t get a could crack at that hard little ball.

Bob Allison from the Minnesota Twins lived on our street and he had two really young boys. We idolized him, but never saw him. Once in a while we saw his pretty wife and their two young boys outside, but never him. Then one day, I was up for bat and pretty as you please he strolled over to the middle of the street, home plate. He asked me how my hitting was going and trying not to drop my jaw, I told him it wasn’t going very well. He said, well that bat is to big for you, you’ve got to choke up on it a bit. And then he showed me how! I was just about to scream I was so excited, but I did just exactly what he said.

Once he felt I had mastered that — by now our whole team was surrounding us at home plate — he had another tip for me. And for some more power, he said, you’ve got to step into it when you swing. He showed me how to take a step forward as I took a swing with my hands raised higher on the bat. Then he had a couple of balls pitched to me. Those guys weren’t going to do me any favors. We were teammates, not friends yet. The pitcher fired in a pitch, STRIKE! The catcher threw it back and he fired in another one. I took a deep breath and blew it out, to a step and swung… CRACK! Impact! That ball soared. Everyone around us jumped back and I ran like lightening. I wanted Mr. Bob Allison to see I was going to take advantage of his handiwork. First base whooosh…. second base whoooosh….third base…whoooosh…and I was on my way home! I slid into home SAFE! All but my jeans, shredded them, but man, the grin on my face! Mr. Bob Allison was looking over his shoulder and nodding from his driveway. It was time for him to go home.

What a great summer day. A legend appeared out of the shadows and taught me how to swing a bat. My teammates and I were suddenly friends. I had earned their respect. I’ll never forget it!

Saturdays at Dad’s

LtoR: Scott, Suzy, Pop, Dad, Sara, Me and Bill

“A writer is a person who cares what words mean, what they say, how they say it. Writers know words are their way towards truth and freedom, and so they use them with care, with thought, with fear, with delight. By using words well they strengthen their souls. Story-tellers and poets spend their lives learning that skill and art of using words well. And their words make the souls of their readers stronger, brighter, deeper.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin

Every Saturday, many Sundays after Church, every Christmas Eve and Father’s day were my dad’s and nobody questioned it! My dad had many qualities that made him a great dad, he loved his children, he loved to be outside and play with us and was the best story-teller. I could listen to my dad’s stories by the hour. I still can!

He loved us so much, my mother told me later, that the night they realized that a separation was going to happen he cried about not living with us kids. It breaks my heart to think of it. My poor parents, both loved us so much. My dad in tears, I could hardly bear it when she told me.

But on to the fun stuff. We lived in Minnesota. My dad was from Mitchell, South Dakota. Two cold places. He never let that stop him from being outside, or from taking us on hikes as he called walking up and down whatever hill or mini-mountain we could find.

On a Dad Hike! Me Bill and Scott!

He played football for the University and taught all for of us to go out for passes. Suzy first, she was the fastest, then me, then Bill and then Scott. He had us running, catching the football, throwing a nice spiral back to him so he could fire one off to the next kid in line. It was a blast. We went as fast as we could. Suzy set a pretty fast pace. She’s the beautiful blond girl in the pigtails in the picture. The baby is my sister Sara. She’d watch at first. Eventually she joined us for basketball. I don’t remember her playing football.

Sara was a delight as was her mom. Pop is my dad’s dad, also known to tell a good story. My dad loved words and chose his well. I loved to hear my dad talk about anything, but most especially his childhood. His childhood friends had amazing names, like “Liver Lips” Johnson! My dad could really made us laugh as you might well imagine! He told the stories of how he and his brother fought that are the stuff of family legend. He has golf stories that would make you laugh ’til you cried. You’re probably wondering why I’m not telling you any, well my dad is an author, currently working on his memoirs! I don’t want to steal any of his thunder!

I will say this, my dad taught me to love words and books and writing and speaking. When I was in high school he had a regular column in the Minneapolis Athletic Club magazine the Gopher for local business. It was funny, witty and I read it every month. His book, “The Guide Shoots First” about his hunting adventures is selling well on

There was one thing I envied my brothers. Well two, I guess. 1) every year they went hunting with dad and 2) they went down to the Athletic Club every Saturday morning with dad to workout, play basketball, etc. Dad would pick us up after. It was a men’s club back then with just certain hours that they allowed women’s swimming, which we did! But I wasn’t to envious. One big drawback, they couldn’t be a daughter of dad’s which is a precious thing!

All sports at my dad’s house were strictly co-ed. Other places, it was another era. There weren’t many sports for women back then, and my gym teachers were amazed at my basketball prowess when they began to “teach” us the game. Too bad they didn’t teach football too! Dad would have loved that story!

Mom Plus God

The Five of Us

“Your children are the greatest gift God will give to you, and their souls the heaviest responsibility He will place in your hands. Take time with them, teach them to have faith in God. Be a person in whom they can have faith. When you are old, nothing else you’ve done will have mattered as much.”
― Lisa Wingate

My mom tells the story that when dad and she decided to get divorced and she was alone in the house with us that she laid down on the floor and stretched out her arms and legs and gave up. She told God she couldn’t do this thing: raise the four of us without dad in the house and without his daily presence and love. She told God she needed Him to give her the strength as soon as possible, PLEASE! She just laid there until he answered her. From that day forward she always said God was her husband. She was NOT a nun, she was real flesh and blood. She got frustrated with the four of us who could be very unruly without dad to yell out our given names! But, she had a lot of love and determination and incredible energy. I’m not surprised looking back to think that it was not really mom raising us at home, but mom plus God.

Now I want to stress again that my dad took care of us, too! He was there for us emotionally and financially and on weekends and holidays. But on the weekdays and every night it was mom + God who raised us. She needed help from others too and got it when she would. She was very beautiful and dated some. I love this picture of us taken at Minnehaha Creek by my all-time favorite of her boyfriends, a doctor and a really great guy. She didn’t have very many of them, but they were all sweet to us. Some wanted to marry her. She never took them up on it, and finally stopped dating. She maintained she was married to God. That might sound a bit goofy to some, but my mom was not goofy, she was full of love. I think, however that she never really got over my dad. She is 81 now, with Alzheimers, and her face still lights up like a Christmas tree when she hears his name!

And my grandparents, were always around. I had two sets. I was very fortunate in that department. My moms parents we saw the most, because they lived near by. They were an important part of our lives. And my cousins too, of course. Yet, sometimes we were lonely. My mom started this ritual of putting is all to bed individually and lying down with us and talking to us for a good long time. My mom took a couple of hours to put four kids to bed. I mentioned she had energy. She was very happy raising us. She would get up the next day to begin the adventure again!

She depended on me for help with my brothers. My sister Suzy helped more around the house. We all helped mom when we could. I was her rescuer. One early summer day I rode home on my bike and saw her holding the window air conditioner out the window! I ran upstairs to see what the deal was and found she had it stuck outside the window, not in the brackets and could get it in or out! She was holding onto the thing for dear life. She wasn’t about to drop an air conditioner! I got on my bike and pedaled to the nearest gas station (about a mile) and the guy who knew us came and helped mom out! Wow! What a day. I get tense just thinking about it! Okay now I’m laughing. Life with mom was never dull!

Mom raised us on the praise method. She had been raised that way by her dad with a bit more of a critical style by her mom and saw no value in it. Even today, my husband Mike calls her the president of my fan club! She is the first person I call when something great has happened. Well it’s a coin toss! The second person I call is my Dad! They are two great people who built a wonderful happy family, together and apart. One of their secrets: they loved their children. A second? They never had a bad word to say about each other! I had the two best parents in the world, plus God!

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