It was 1986. I had just graduated from high school. In late Spring/early Summer, dad and I drove to Iowa for a family reunion. Just the two of us headed to Lone Rock.
When we got there, my cousin Wes showed up. He was in the middle of a cross-country motorcycle trip from California. He was starving, so grandma, my dad's mom, fried him up some hamburgers in one of her ancient caste-iron skillet.
It may indeed be the case that nothing burps like bacon, but I think it's pretty hard to top the smell of browning ground beef. It should be characterized as an endorphin.
Grandma died Wednesday afternoon. She was 98 years old. She would tell you that she had 90 real good years, 5 pretty good years, and 2 not-so-good years.
Born Verna Bates, she was a remarkable woman. She and her husband, Eldin, never had much. They didn't even own the land they farmed because Eldin's dad, Lemuel, son of Edward, was tight. They were essentially tenant farmers. Only if they were too sick to work did they go to the doctor, and paid him what he charged in cash right there. I suppose it was a much different time. People were tougher, more resilient, thrifty, proud. Resigned, I suppose you might even say, in their stoic way.
I blame the ever-vain baby-boomers.
Dad saw to it that they both were taken care of. It was nothing short of his duty, and he did it gladly because of all they had given him growing up, not least of which was a chance at a college education.
Verna Bates. Buried a baby boy. Buried her husband. Buried her youngest. Buried a son-in-law. Buried a daughter-in-law. May she rest in everlasting peace.
Thanks for the post. Sounds like something similar to what's happening in some Minnesota communities.
(I can't go. It's not that I'm busy. It's that I'm emotionally unequipped to deal with another trip to Iowa. It took everything I had to drive up there for mom. My sister understands, but I don't think my oldest brother will. I guess he'll just have to be mad at me. Which is fine, because I've been mad at me for quite some time.)