The Fish Was Bad

grandma1 001I have been thinking of my Grandma Jahr for the last two days about nonstop.I don’t know why except that it is Lent and it reminded me of a story I tell about her.I want my grandkids to know what kind of person she was.I believe she is my reason for sanity and she was an amazing woman.She wasn’t afraid of anything and I want my grandkids to feel that way about me.She was sensible about most things but sometimes she sent me into orbit with some of her decisions and this is one of the reasons why.

After my Grandpa Jahr died my Grandma’s life changed.They lived a very structured life.She made every meal they ever ate and going out to eat was a rare treat.She now had more time to do things that she never had time to do when she was a farmers wife.I talked to her every day after I got out of work and she started to socialize with her widow friends more.Her best friend was Madeline Menzel and Madeline’s husband had passed away also.I never really liked Madeline much because she always seemed kind of mean but Grandma and her were friends since grade school days.They would go shopping and visiting other widows and I was glad she had someone to spend time with when I was at work.I would hear about their adventures after I got home and it was nothing for my ear to be sore after a talk with Grandma on the phone and this day was no exception.

I think I was home about five minutes when the phone rang and it was Grandma.

“Hi,Dilly, how are you.”

“Fine Grandma,what did you do today?”

“Well,Madeline picked me up and we went to the Big John’s for the fish dinner for lunch.”

My Grandma had a habit of putting the word THE in front of a lot of words.Like she always said cream of the mushroom soup.I loved it when she said stuff like that and I remember smiling when she said the Big John’s.It was a little restaurant in Caro about a half hour away from her house and I thought it was nice they went out to lunch together on a Wednesday.

“Well, that was nice Grandma.”

“No, not really because the fish was bad!”

“What do you mean the fish was bad?”

“The fish was so bad I couldn’t eat it.It was so greasy and it was cold.I wound up bringing it home for the cats and tomorrow when I go out I will give it to them.”

That didn’t surprise me because she would never waste the food.I just knew she was mad because she paid good money for bad fish.She went on—

“We weren’t the only ones there at the Big John’s.I saw Con and Vernita Curry and when Madeline went out to start the car I stopped to talk to them.”

The Curry’s were Grandma’s neighbors and Mrs.Curry did Grandma’s hair.I’m sure she was discussing the bad fish and taking her time doing it.

She went on.”I went out to get in the car and there was Madeline laying on the sidewalk.”

“Oh, my,goodness, was she hurt.”

“Well, no, she was dead.”

“What?”

“She was dead and I didn’t know how I was going to get home.I didn’t know if the cops would let me drive her car or if I could hitch a ride with the Curry’s because they were still in the Big John’s.”

“Grandma I am so sorry that Madeline died.”

“Well,she had a bad heart and I think she had a massive heart attack and it killed her. They took her drivers license away about a year ago because her heart was no good.”

“What in God’s name were you doing riding in the car with her if she was that sick?She could have died when you guys were driving down the road and then where would we be.I can’t believe you Grandma.I can’t have anything happen to you.”

“Well, she looked ok to me and I am alright so quit worrying and the Curry’s gave me a ride home so I didn’t have to drive Madeline’s car.”

I was thinking thank God because you haven’t had a license in twenty years!

My Grandma had to learn a lot of stuff after Grandpa died and she did.I taught her how to balance her checkbook and I helped her figure things out,but she taught me things until the very day she died.She wasn’t afraid of anything not even getting into a car with someone that shouldn’t be driving.I want to be like that for my grandkids.I want them to smile thinking of me like I am right now thinking of Grandma long after she is gone.I hope that they feel blessed to have had me and I hope that I drive them a little crazy too.I am thinking that’s what grandmas are supposed to do.Keep you on your toes.

I can’t end without this.Grandma I love you still and thank you for everything you ever did for me.You were always ready for the challenge even if it was the death of a friend.I think of the lessons you taught me on how to protect myself from hellish stepfathers and where to kick them if they attacked.I remember to keep God foremost in my life and to teach my grandkids like you did me.I still hear your sweet voice and I will never forget it.If mean Madeline made it to where you are I hope you and her are having a good time and that the fish is good.

three 001This is Grandma and Grandpa.My sister Linda on Grandpa’s lap and my sister Lori in Grandma’s arms.That’s me standing in the middle.

One Year Ago

Ward

My daughter Alisha sent me this picture  and I wanted to share it.I guess everybody in my family is thinking about Ward today.I must admit I was too.Alisha is really good at taking pictures and making them special and I love this one.It made me think of how different today was compared to a year ago.I know now what the saying about time healing means.Last year at this time was probably one of the saddest days of my life.It was the day that Ward and cancer parted.Today I can rejoice in the end of suffering and not be selfish in letting go of a very dear person that I so loved.I love that smile on Wards face.Our Bethy was home from the Navy the day this picture was taken and she had just given Ward this hat from one of the officers in the Navy.I remember she told him that not everybody had a hat like that,it was an officers hat and he was thrilled to get it.

I don’t want to get sad because he is gone.I want to be thankful that I knew him.I know that I will see him again some day and he is in good company.Last year as I laid beside him as he was dying and even after he died I was so amazed that I wasn’t afraid.Death was a blessing for Ward because he was suffering.He fought the good fight up until the end and I am so proud how he left this earth.He was such a gentleman that even in death he was no trouble for me.He slipped away in quietness just like he came into my life.I didn’t want to meet him and I was as stubborn as a mule whenever Mom talked about him.All I could think was,here we go again.We never had an easy time with blended families and I wasn’t looking forward to another one.He was kind of stubborn too because it took him a while to warm up to us.After we adopted Bethany and Alisha they just one day started calling him Grandpa and he never corrected them.He was the only grandpa they ever knew.Bethy would crawl up on his lap and he would sit there like a statue.After a while he caved and he grew to love those little ones.He taught the girls how to drive in his Mustang and would take them for long car rides.They are the ones that really got him to go to church too.They kept bugging him to come to their Christmas program at church and one day Mom called me and announced that Perky wanted to get a new suit because he was going to the Christmas program.Once he went to church he was committed to that church.He went to everything and everybody loved him there.My Mom and he became good friends with every pastor we had.He cherished Bible study and he never missed.I knew those last few Sundays that he didn’t go to church the end was near.Perky knew where he was going and he was ready.

There is a lesson in this I want to share with my sweet grandkids.If I would have been as bullheaded as I wanted to be when Mom married Ward I would never have had this amazing man in my life.I wouldn’t have learned how to forgive things in my past and they would have anchored me down for the rest of my life.My walk with the Lord would have been compromised and I would have never healed.Sometimes you have to know when to fold and listen to that voice in your heart.Rejoice in the good and forget the bad.

I know that I never had the blood that ran through his veins in me and I accept that,but I did feel the same love in his heart and that means something to me.I miss him but he had to go and even in death he had this way about him.

Here is his tombstone and you can see what kind of a guy he was just by the words on it.It says I’m outta here and has a thumbs up for Little Ariana one of the grandkids he so cherished and spoiled rotten.

IMG_0209A year ago I couldn’t quit being sad but today I am thankful for the times we had before he was sick.Today I want to honor him and all he stood for in my life.I want to thank God that he sent me this man to help me and guide me and listen to me.I am a better person because I let him in.I hope that he realized how much he meant to me and if he didn’t I am sure my grandma is telling him now that he was blessed to have my sisters and me.I think they will be bragging about how good we turned out and proud they are of us.I can only imagine……………….

The Big House Our Dogs And Here Comes Number Five

l&l5 001

I have told you about our little Love Nest in Sebewaing that I loved and after Mom had four kids in that little one bedroom garage turned house we moved.My sister Linette was the baby and not quite a month old.About this time Mom’s Dad my Grandpa Jahr bought a farm and it had a HUGE sand brick house on it.He would pay us and we could live there for free if we did the chores and fed the feeder cattle or pigs which ever Grandpa was getting ready for the stock market at the time.I was pitching silage with Mom and Dad before I was eight years old.It has both good and bad memories attached to it and I try to focus on the the good.

The house had four big bedrooms upstairs and one downstairs.We turned a parlor  into another bedroom so there was two bedrooms to sleep in downstairs.We girls slept in the bedroom and Mom and Daddy slept in the parlor.The first summer we saw the place before we even moved in my mom and grandma were hoeing the fields of that farm.They would have us take naps in the cool of the house in the afternoon with Grandma’s famous green sponge things we slept on that my sister Linette has commented on.Two girls in a closet,I guess for darkness and two in the room we would later use as our living room.I remember one time Linette and I were in the closet and we heard a like buzzing sound and then the smell of burnt wires.It seems that Lori stuck something in a outlet socket and we shorted out something.I was scared to death and knew we were in trouble.It wasn’t long before Grandma came in and started snooping around saying what happened.I was glad it was her because she never spanked and got everything under control.

us2 001It was here that the last of the little Hahn girls made her appearance and here she is with Linda and Lori.I love this picture of her and as you can see Linda is holding her hand.She always was Linda’s baby.We always had the babies with us even before they could walk.We played in that big yard and pretended with our cousins all the time.

kids 001We had this stroller thing and the babies were always in it being pushed around.I don’t know where that thing came from but we racked up miles and miles pushing our little sisters.This is our dog Tippy that I tried to train like Grandma Jahr did her dogs but I was never any good at it.We lost more dogs at that house because it was on a very busy road and there was a chicken coop across from us that the dogs always wanted to go to.We never had a refrigerator in that house just the big freezer so we always put our milk in between the door and the screen door in the winter to keep it cold and Mom would freeze and unthaw from the freezer  in the summer.One time Grandpa gave Mom some money for feeding the cattle and she gave it to Daddy to go by a used refrigerator from one of his friends that had a gas station in town.She wasn’t very happy that he brought us back a little dog instead of the fridge.There was some words, I remember, but that was Dad.We loved that little dog.I finally had a dog that could do tricks and climb ladders and everything.Her name was Mitzy and we just adored her.Before the end of the summer she was killed on that crazy road down by the corner and I saw her.Daddy and I went down and got the little dog to bury and I remember him being as sad as I was.He took me in his arms and just let me sob and he cried too because I was so sad.You know I can almost feel his arms around me right now as I think of it.I guess there are some things that never leave you and that day was one of them.He hated to see us cry and when one of the animals died it was horrible.This reminds me of our cat Joey that we had in Sebewaing.I was looking for it in the winter and couldn’t find it so I told Daddy.We went hunting outside and found that cat frozen in our shed out back.I begged Daddy to put in on the stove to thaw it out and I remember Mom and him being so sad telling me that we couldn’t do that.Mom remembers that day too and her smile when we said the same words at the same time I will treasure.

That house gave me many things,my last Hahn sister that I love,many fun times with our cousins there(remember the Deeg boys)and it also brought me much unhappiness.I refuse to let the bad take over my memories.I have much to be thankful for.I know that my stepfathers were horrible to us five girls but you know what,Ward trumped them all.He gave me back my childhood memories and I hope he knows it.His childhood was terrible too and he never treated me with anything but kindness and I will treasure his memory like I do my LBS(life before stepfathers).I love my sisters and all that Ward gave me.I hope he is in Heaven telling my dad what good girls that we turned out to be.Thank you God for giving me a dad and a mom that loved me and for Ward.You have given me much Lord and I  hope that I can give it to someone in return.God bless my family,warts and all.

The Potato Salad Was Ordered

ward 001Death is a funny thing.I make that statement because it has consumed the life of our family for about four years now.We have had a lot of time to analyze it,be afraid of it,dread it,and finally long for it.Our wonderful brilliant stepdad finally made it a reality a few days ago and as usual he made it a learning experience for my sisters and me and we all agree even though we are so missing him already we will be eternally grateful for the experience.

I really hate calling Ward my stepdad because it doesn’t clarify what he was to my sisters and me.There are six of us and we all have had many experiences with STEP fathers and to put our Ward in the same category is almost unthinkable.Step is like wicked to me in the family department and he never was.We knew we weren’t his kids and I personally was glad we didn’t go down that road because I remember my dad and really didn’t need a replacement.I needed someone to replace the sourness in my heart from the men that where put in the stepfather position before him.What we got was a man that could teach us to trust again,to not be afraid for our mother,and to mentor us in the world of living right and he did that and more.I am proud to call him something more than stepfather,I call him friend.

Ward explained everything in detail to us and his death was no exception.He taught us to never give up hope and to live each day as an example to our children.He took the time to explain what would happen to his body as it began shutting down and even though at the time I didn’t want to hear it I am now glad that I listened.I am a Christian and I know where I am going after I die but the actual act of dying has always scared me and touching a dead body was out of the question.Ward changed that not just for me but for my sisters Linda and Loretta also.We hugged and kissed him in the middle of  his ragged breathing and even after his death we laid quietly beside him.Thank you so much dear friend for teaching us even in your darkest hour.You not only took the fear of the unknown away from me but you gave me back the same love I had for my sisters when we were growing up afraid.My aching heart has mended.As I know yours is my soul is also at peace.

We laughed and we cried and it now reminds me of just how witty you were.I remember when you were first diagnosed and then came over to talk to us about it.You said maybe we should just call Luke’s and order the potato salad and I was amazed how you could laugh about your own funeral dinner.Mom looked at me and just shook her white head……………and smiled.

I want you to know we will continue to do as you wanted us to.We have always been your work horses and we won’t let you down Our aim is to make you proud and to try to repay you in some small way for the wisdom and guidance you gave us all.We did it for love not for money.

Oh and if you are by chance stopping your conversation with your brother Larry right now we want you to know —————-the potato salad was good.

Jenny

Yesterday after work I went to a funeral home with two of my friends.One of our good friend’s niece was killed in a four wheeler accident.Her name was Jenny and she was thirty one years old.She was a daughter,wife,and mother to two little boys ages three and one.Jenny’s mother has been fighting cancer for years and I wonder if she wishes she would have died from it so she could be with her Jenny now.That would be me.Jenny was an only child and her moms best friend.I cannot image what this mother is going through.I wish that every kid could see what grief does to a mother when one of her kids are taken from her.I pray that Jenny’s family will be able to heal from this.God is always present no matter where you are,but at times like this our human self can’t understand the meaning of such a senseless tragedy.I know for sure that I will hold all of my family a little closer after witnessing that mom.I hope my kids realize that every day they are alive is such a gift and that they will touch someone in some way.When we left the funeral home my friends husband told me we were a blessing. I hope people remember Jenny and this family.I just keep visualizing her fighting God (because that’s what moms do)that she just can’t leave her little boys and her mom.Then God telling Jenny that when she gets to heaven she will see the plan.God be with this family.