Friday, December 14, 2012
When I first felt my world shift
This is a picture of my mother's brother's family. When my grandfather, their father, passed away from a heart attack the day after Christmas in 1959 my uncle took over the family ranch and farmlands. This land is on the west side of the Tetons and is the most beautiful farmland I have ever seen. It consists of rolling hills interspersed with clumps of trees which are mostly aspens. This picture shows Keith's family standing at the end of the lane leading to their home.
I loved going to visit them at the ranch. Raiija was from Finland and a wonderful hostess. I loved the food, the hospitality, and the beauty of the setting. On snowy days like the one pictured, there was a special kind of serenity. Sometimes in winter there was so much snow we would drive the two lane highway leading east through snow tunnels created by snow plows with each side higher than our vehicle.
One of our visits forever changed me and my perspective of my world. We were having such a good time that we ignored the snow beginning to fall outside the windows on each side of the fireplace. It was near dark before we finally packed up and headed back home to Sugar City. When driving in off the main highway there is a very steep long descent leading to Conant Creek and the house overlooking it. To go home we had to climb up that hill. It was slippery and we were stuck, not moving forward. We were in my father's red pickup truck so there was fishtailing. My mother exited the truck to help push it forward and provide traction. In the process, she fell and injured her mouth.
I was so puzzled. Why was my mother on the outside pushing the truck instead of my father? Who was the real strong one in my family? It was then I realized that my mother was indeed the physically stronger of my parents. I knew that my father had medical issues, but now I realized that those issues compromised his ability to be the father I imagined him to be. It lessened my feelings of security and heightened my already prone to be worrier personality.
Indeed, by the time we moved to Arizona in 1964, just a few of years later, my father was unable to hold a job, drive a car, or provide for his family. That was when I truly recognized all the strengths of my mother and knew how fortunate we all were to have her.