A new beginning…

without Les Kellogg.  My sweet stepfather, my mother’s husband, passed away on Monday.  He was two weeks shy of 97.  We had the funeral yesterday, and I was glad for the opportunity to speak.  I’d like to share what I said here:

Les and mom, dancing at my wedding, 1993.
Les and mom, dancing at my wedding, 1993.

“My mother’s words, a while after my father had died, were ‘I feel like I’m living half a life now.’  She wasn’t complaining,  just stating facts, letting us know about widowhood.  Some time after that she started dating Les, and after they’d dated a little while I asked if she still felt that way, like it was half a life.  I already knew the answer,  I could see the change in her face, in her demeanor.   She confirmed what I knew, she was leading a full life, Les had put joy back in her life.  And she most certainly did the same for Les.

Karleen and Les were very much in love, they completed and complimented each other.  From short trips to the Elks for dinner to an annual road trip to Florida to escape the snow, they always enjoyed their time together.

Our family didn’t meet Les until he was an old man.  I don’t know what kind of father he was, what kind of businessman he was, or even what color his snowy white hair had been.  But I did know Les.

Les has been very kind and generous to us.  I will always love him for taking care of my mother, for dancing with her at my wedding, for being a gentleman, and a gentle man.  I must credit my sister for the very best description of Les.  Jane has always said of Les, “what a lovely, lovely man”.

Les loved to fly, loved to play golf, and loved to play poker.  Our family watched as age took each of his joys away, one by one.   This will, and is, happening to all of us who have the luxury of living long enough.  But Jane and mom and I will always remember him flying every chance he got, cursing his golf stroke, and mostly losing at poker.

There is something I’d like to do with all of you right now, but I can’t, this isn’t the place.  So I’m going to ask you all to do me a big favor.  Sometime this week I want you to go to your kitchen cupboard and find a glass.  Make it a nice glass, one you like, one that feels good in your hand.  Then put something you really enjoy in that glass.  It can be wine, or beer, chocolate milk or soda pop, it doesn’t matter, but make it something you really like.  Since we are talking about Les, the appropriate thing would be Dewer’s and water, but Les would want you to enjoy yourself, so make it something you are quite fond of.  I think I’ll go for gin and tonic.  Once you’ve got that done, hold that glass up to the light, and say this: ‘To Lester Kellogg, a truly lovely man.’  Then enjoy the hell out of that drink.”

Where I stood, celebrating love!

wedding feetYesterday it was my great joy to officiate at another wedding.  Mark’s sister Kelly found the love of her life in Rich, and they were married yesterday, on the Winter Solstice.  Bride feet, groom feet, minister feet, and photographer (Mark) foot.

Kelly and Rich are marriedThe couple, just married, with the best man, Rich’s son Josh.

me and TomMe, with Tom, the father of the bride.

with the parentsThe newlyweds celebrating with their parents.  What a wonderful day!

Where I stood, honoring my mother

This is where I stood last Sunday, up north, on a dock, checking out the stones.

This Sunday I am off to celebrate mothers.   But before I leave, I want to honor my mother by showing you the crazy quilt she made.   Any creativity I have I got from my mom.   At 53″ square, it’s pretty large for a crazy quilt, and I’m happy to say, it now hangs in my bedroom.

In this section is a portrait of two sisters, me and Jane.   I’m the little one.

This was my dad’s dog, Sparkle.

Dorothy, over the rain bow.

A child on a swing.     There is so much to look at in this quilt that I think I’ll show you a few more pictures of it tomorrow.   It is an amazing work of art!

Mom’s bathroom

Perhaps you will recall some time ago I told you about Mark installing a new shower and tub surround at my mother’s house.   If you’ve forgotten this great achievement, look here.   Well, now that it has a nice shower, mom wanted the rest of the room to look good, too.   Part of my Christmas present to her was to help her paint it, but it wasn’t much of a present, she did 90% of the work.   First, we removed the wallpaper.   That was a pain in the, well, in a lot of body parts.   wallpaper

This is the lovely wallpaper, clinging to the wall for its life.

soffit

This is the soffit above the bathtub, after much work we got most of the paper off.

bttrfly soffit

And this is the same soffit, with paint and a new shower curtain.   Didn’t mom do a great job designing and stenciling the butterflies?!!