Here are some long-awaited photos. Too bad I can't figure out how to change their order of appearance. The first ones are views of our library, that Colleen and Brian helped us build this past winter. The next picture is of the ceiling before we put up the complete fixture and the tin panels. The last one shows the room before the built-in bookcases were installed. Quite an improvement!
It's been a wild ride since my last blog letter.
First, I have bad news about my brother-in-law, Bill MacArthur. He is Robert's only sister Cindy's husband. Bill had been battling cancer that started in his bladder. He didn't like to talk about his health problems and he didn't like other people talking about them. He was a very stoic person. We knew things weren't going well, as he seemed to have one surgery after another, and we knew his chemo-therapy wasn't working as planned and was debilitating. Robert and I felt helpless, not able to offer much, except to be here, ready to come when asked. We got the word yesterday that Bill has died. We feel sorry for Cindy, knowing how much she looked forward to retiring with her husband, to live a life doing the things they wanted to do together. We also feel so sorry for Bill, who had to suffer so much at the end of his life. We will be traveling to Maryland this weekend to be with the family.
Another tragedy is that Patience, the young girl who has been helping take care of my Mom, had planned on moving out of Mom's house because her father had been in a terrible accident, and would need 24-hour care after getting out of the hospital. Unfortunately, just a day or so before he was supposed to be released, he unexpectedly died. This was a rough blow for an eighteen-year-old, who has had a lot more crap to deal with in her short life than most other people. In June, Patience' cousin disappeared. She had lived in Williamston. She was later found, murdered. At first, an ex-boyfriend was the suspect, but it turned out she was killed by a serial murderer, who killed four other Lansing-area women. It was something you'd expect to read in some cheesy police procedural mystery story--not something you expect would happen in real life, to someone in your family. Patience had been spending a lot of time with her deceased cousin's two daughters.
To make matters even MORE surreal, a tornado plowed through Willaimston last weekend. It made the national news, and you may have heard about the couple who lost their lives. Their brand-new house, that they had finally moved into just that day, was completely blown off its foundation and dropped into a pond on the property. The husband and wife, whose bodies were later pulled from the water, were Patience' aunt and uncle. Needless to say, the poor kid is a wreck, and feels she needs to move back in with her mother to help hold her family together. I don't know how you could have all these random, awful things happen in such a short period of time, and not have it change your life forever. This young girl can use your prayers. Her name is Patience Bentley.
My Mom made it through the tornado practically unscathed, which is a miracle, as some of the most intense damage occurred right on High Street. All of the trees in the park two blocks away were torn up by their roots, and the high school was hit hard. There is a huge maple tree right outside the room Mom sleeps in, that we have been worried might fall on the house some day. Years ago my brothers and Clay Lenherdt put a huge bolt through the trunk,to keep it from splitting completely in half, and we have thought it was about time to add some other sort of support. Anyway, that tree did split, but it fell against the roof above the studio, and took out part of the eaves. The place where she sleeps was not affected. She insists that being from Kansas, she's not afraid of tornados. Her sister Rosie (also from Kansas) told me that being AROUND tornadoes is a little different from being IN a tornado. Rosie made it through the huge twister that tore up downtown Topeka by hiding in a stairwell with her hands over her ears. She said that for years after that, even the sound of a vacuum cleaner made her nervous.
Anyway, Mom is OK, doing better than expected (she got her electricity back faster than most of the rest of the town) and I think getting through the experience all by herself has made her feel a little more competent and tough.
In spite all this extreme sad and scary news, I am feeling quite a bit better. My brother Chris says that I should not talk about a job possibility before it's a job certainty, or I'll jinx it, so I won't. My friend Lindy (who tells me she has been praying for me to get a good job) asked me how this came to me. Well, Lindy, this job possibility came to me through the medium of PYGMY GOATS. That's all I can say for now.
I am expecting to meet one of my highschool chums, Bonnie Beuthein Dike, in the City sometime this week. Bonnie played the cello in highschool and was in student government. Now she's a yoga instructor in Washington state, and the mother of eleven children! Cool! I've collected some articles and things to share with her. Maybe I'll find some interesting photos. Hey! Maybe I'll share some photos with you, too! Maybe I'll even show you that library make-over I've been promising for centuries!