Saturday my family spent over 12 hours going through my father’s belongings. Piles of fishing & hunting gear, carpentry and gardening equipment, dog accessories, his own artwork, books, rocks; all things hobby needed new homes. Furniture would have been donated to the Goodwill, though Dad’s grandchildren desired a piece or two. Some pieces are handcrafted by my father from the Bates Family farm’s barn wood. I inherited German heirlooms passed from my father’s mother Anna Kurz, my namesake. Fine china and a walnut wardrobe built in Germany were brought to the United States in the early 1900’s when the Kurz family settled in St. Louis, Missouri. I wonder how many afternoon teas were served with the china set, and who was served? A crafty secret compartment in this wardrobe was discovered. Did Dad make this, or was this his father or grandfather’s work? Something to ask Grandpa about. It was like a life in fast motion, childhood through the many stages of adulthood wrapped up in a day.
Change … difficult at times, and welcomed at other times. Always here to stay. A life shortened, some days it’s hard to believe my father is not here any longer with us. Reality hit Saturday night into Sunday morning, as it was past midnight while driving home from Pike County, emotions raw. None of these treasures replace my father. Nothing can. Some are sweet reminders of the joys he found while alive on this earth. In June more change to come with my mother moving closer to our home into her downsized, yet elegant villa.
These late winter snows create survival tactics to say the least. For me with my cold allergy, severe side effects could take my life. So I take precautions, carrying extra gloves, hat, sweatshirts, boots, blanket, and epie pin if we ever have a vehicle breakdown. Of course good snow tires and vehicle maintenance is a must. We have the kitchen fireplace and fire wood in case the furnace would go out.
My mother lives an hour north of of us in Pike County. Pike County is always 10 degrees cooler than St. Charles County, and produces more severe winter storms. We received about a foot of snow the past 10 days, where Mom’s neck of the woods received two foot of snow. Her neighborhood is just outside of the town of Bowling Green. All her neighbors are older like herself, though Mother has a heart condition which keeps her indoors during extreme heat or cold. Normally she has senior assistance come to her house twice a week, but this past two weeks it posed a problem for the agency to get to their clients. I called Mother every day or two, checking on her. She kept saying I am fine, I have food, drinking water, medicines, and a warm house. But she failed to see what her mental and soul health needed. Survival tactics also mean taking care of the inside person as well. Since father’s death in October, Mother is lonely and still mourning. A computer, TV, or novels go only so far. The human voice and human presence heals.
Thursday evening, I decided Dean and I would go up to see my mother on Friday morning after we got the van packed and our banking done for our trip to Kansas City. A funeral wake Friday evening, and a graduation party on Saturday afternoon were the plans with Dean’s family. I asked my mother to come with us, though she declined. I am so glad we went to my mother’s home. She was snowed in, housebound. Two-foot snow piled high on the gravel driveway, mailbox, garage, and sidewalk to the front door. When Mother opened the door, she looked old and reclused to me, almost did not recognize her, and she me. It scared me and made me sad. After helping Dean clean the sidewalk off, while he finished the rest, Mother and I talked. Mother said she must have made a mistake, and should have come down to St. Charles County with us last week. After digging our way out Friday morning, we went into town for a couple of errands and ate lunch at one of her favorite local cafes. Mother just bought a villa a mile away from our home, plans to move there in June. But June is three long months away still, maybe three or four more snow storms away.
Make a visit to your neighbors and family, no matter what age or condition they are in. Their soul depends on it. “Words mean more than what is set down on paper – it takes the human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning”. ~ Maya Angelou
… I love the year’s decline, and love
Through rustling yellow shades to range,
O’er stubble land, ’neath willow grove,
To pause upon each varied change …
Now shatter’d shades let me attend,
Reflecting look on their decline,
Where pattering leaves confess their end,
In sighing flutterings hinting mine.
For every leaf, that twirls the breeze,
May useful hints and lessons give;
The falling leaves and fading trees
Will teach and caution us to live…
These verses are from a poem “Autumn” written by John Clare (1821). I walked down the Clayton street to another building on campus for a training class this morning. I felt and heard the autumn winds in my hair and the rustling leaves. In the wind I feel my father’s presence. Autumn was his favorite season. Brain cancer did not win, as my father has eternal life with Jesus. I had to go out again at my lunch break, just so I could feel the winds and know my father is present in my day. Did you know, my Dad, you built so much of my character and personality? That steadfastness, strong, and stubborn characteristic I shared at the ceremony in your honor on Saturday, but tenacity would be another trait I forgot to mention. This greenhouse business, Deanna Greens and Garden Art is requiring tenacity. It is a sunny, warm, and blustery October day, with another cold front meeting with the current 80+ temperatures which will produce storms in a few short hours. I see the clouds coming from the west. A 40+ degree drop in temps is to come this evening. Dean & I moved many plants to safer shelter last night. Up into the wee 1:00am hour. We have been in the process of moving for weeks, and have found homes for many of our tropicals. But my potted geraniums, wandering jews, swedish ivy, and other hanging baskets needed to be someplace warm. The greenhouse rebuild has come to a halt with the question of electricity ampage for heat, fan, and light resources. Dean met with an engineer from the electric company. Our prayer is that the barn down the hill from our greenhouse has 300 amp, so we can connect. Waiting for an answer as we have permission to do so from the landlord. The side walls and plastic liner should be completed this week, delayed a week for more important matters such as my father’s funeral. See the lovely autumn canvas from my parents’ home in Pike County, the photo taken by my cousin during our gathering in Dad’s honor on Saturday.
My father’s obituary … more thoughts in a few days …
Martin K. Bates, age 76 of Bowling Green, passed away Thursday October 18, 2012, at his home. Funeral services will be held 11:00 a.m. Saturday
October 20, 2012 at the Mudd-Veach Funeral Home in Bowling Green, with Rev. DawnVictoria Mitchell officiating. Burial will be in the Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Bowling Green. Visitation for Mr. Bates will be held from 10:00 a.m. Saturday until the time of service at the funeral home.
He was born March 10, 1936, the son of Earl Kenneth and Anna Susanna Kurz Bates. He grew up in St. Louis County and on April 26, 1958 in St. Louis, he married Darlene Hudson. She survives. Also surviving are his father of St. Charles; two sons Martin Richard Bates and wife Joan of O’Fallon, Stephen Kenneth Bates of Bowling Green; two daughters
Margaret Bates of Los Banos, CA, Anna Gall and husband Dean of St. Peters; five grandchildren; 5 great grandchildren; one brother Earl F. Bates and wife Sunny of the State of Montana and one niece Julie Fait and husband Jim of Romeoville, IL. He was preceded in death by his mother,
his step-mother Paula Bates and one nephew Drew Bates.
Mr. Bates lived in St. Charles County for 43 years where he owned and operated Bates Nursery in St. Peters from 1969 to 2002 when he retired. While owning the nursery, he raised many of his own plants, and did landscaping. In 2003 he moved to Bowling Green. Martin was an avid hunter, loved his hunting dog Midnite and enjoyed training dogs. He also enjoyed woodworking and painting and sketching. He was a good husband, father and grandfather and was a member of Trinity Episcopal Church in Hannibal.
Serving as pallbearers will be Rick Bates, Steve Bates, Ian Bates, Nathan Bates, Benjamin Phelps and Dean Gall.
Memorials may be made to the Donors choice.
So these are my grandchildren, Libby, Ella, Brendan (in the back) with Eli and Hannah (in the front). Yes, they are mine alright. They are loud and rowdy when they get together, like they had not seen each other in ages and catching up with each other’s news. They see each other fairly often as their mothers are best friends and sisters. I love my grandchildren despite their loud presence. I have actually learned to relax with children as I get older. It is guaranteed, they will bring a smile to my face and make me belly laugh when I am with them. Angels they are not, unless they are sound asleep on their pillows. This photo was taken on Easter at my parents’, their great-grandparents’ home in Pike County, Missouri. Libby is a precocious 8-year old, smart as a whip, and will say things as she sees them. She is a sponge with science subjects such as plants, likes to garden and camp. Libby thinks she is the ultimate authority on some matters; therefore, it is her parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and teachers who instruct her differently with her reluctance. School of hard knocks, you know. She reminds me of her mother, my daughter Elisabeth. I adore them both. Then there is 6-year old Ella. She is one investigator, discovers and researches things. Inquiring minds want to know! She is a peaceful child, though can let stubbornness ruin “the moment” unless Mom or Dad steps in. Ella resembles me in so many ways. My Dean calls her “Mini Anna”. Then there is the 1st born grandson, my 5-year old Brendan. Reading in full sentences since age 4, on the go as a new adventure character, wrestling with Dad, yet makes time to cuddle with Mom. Now there is one long word to describe 2-year old Eli … whirlwind! Maybe another word … tornado! Eli is into everything! And definitely has those “terrible two” moments. But he will bring a smile to my face when he says “I like ‘hot cream'” rather than ‘ice cream’ or when he sits next to me and wants to read a book. Well, I just love to read to children, especially my grandchildren. And finally, there is my 1st grandchild, Hannah who will be 11-years old in November. Her nickname “bug” dubbed before she even walked fits her well. Hannah loves nature and animals, bugs included. I have a ladybug stepping stone her mother and her designed for me when she was a preschooler. Hannah is a “social bug” now, loves to be in the know of the raising teenage movie and singing stars, and has limited access to online chats. I imagine a cellular phone would be her 1st choice for a birthday or Christmas gift. See if Mom & Dad are ready for that yet!? Meantime, journaling and creating art are great outlets for her. Mine, five wonderful grandchildren!