Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Up to Idaho and down again

I ran up to Idaho with my mom this weekend to attend Burt's funeral. We drove up with my Aunt Judy and Uncle Wally and Alexander (the only child I took with me) was a fabulous little traveller.

It was wonderful to get reacquainted with some of my more distant relatives and to have the opportunity to see some close family members again (my Auntie Colleen and Uncle LeRon drove down from Alberta and Elizabeth was there...because she lives there).

Alexander had a marvelous time crawling around (and rolling around) the floor. He seemed to enjoy the soft carpet quite a lot. He also did a lot of toddling! He was taking quite a lot of steps as he made his way around the room. Without anyone there to yank him around and knock him over (I'm looking at you, Zoë) I think he felt confident enough to give this whole two-feet thing a try.

After the viewing we met at the Airbnb my Uncle Bruce and Aunt Sara had rented—a cute single-wide trailer home—for a dinner that Sara prepared for us. It was fun to get to visit as our own little family unit for a while (Uncle Bruce, Aunt Sara, Elizabeth, Bridget, Aunt Judy, Uncle Wally, Auntie Colleen, Uncle LeRon, my mom, Alexander, and I). And then, since we hadn't yet found a place to stay, my mom, Alexander, and I ended up spending the night there as well (Colleen and LeRon had already found a hotel and Aunt Judy and Uncle Wally stayed at Elizabeth's). It was so nice of Uncle Bruce and Aunt Sara to share their space!

The funeral was quite wonderful. Burt was, by worldly standards, a rather unsuccessful man; he had terrible luck progressing through any given career track, but he kept on trying new things so that he could help support his family. Still, his lack of success plagued him throughout his life and he just never felt successful. But he was successful in all the ways that truly matter. He was so kind and honest and generous. Everyone loved and respected him. He was, as was repeated so many times today, a gentle soul—just so good.

He'll be missed by many.

After the funeral program we all piled into our cars to make the half-mile journey to the cemetery. It was cold and windy and the dedication of the grave was mercifully short. Then we all piled back into our cars to head back to the church.

Burt loved music—he had a beautiful bass voice and always sang in the ward choir (when he wasn't the director of it). Recently he's been making wind chimes—weighted well enough to withstand the wild prairie winds; so no ordinary feat—and collecting handbells. Kathi had arranged for three bells to be placed at each table and asked that everyone pick up a bell and ring it for Burt. It was quite a beautiful sound (and fittingly reminded everyone of the line, "Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings," from It's a Wonderful Life).

Little Bridget (age 6) was admiring a beautiful brass bell with a unicorn handle and mentioned how beautiful the bell was to Kathi when she came by to visit at our table. "Then take it!" Kathi said with a smile. "It's yours!"

That's how generous Burt and Kathi are.

Bridget was a little too shy to take such a big, beautiful bell so instead she chose a smaller one with hearts on it (but later traded with her grandpa, my Uncle Bruce, for the big unicorn one). She went home a very happy camper.

The lunch was wonderful and because I was the only one there with a baby I felt like everyone was waiting on me hand and foot! Aunt Sara brought me a plate of food and my mom found me a fork (because my setting had only been set with a spoon and a knife). It was so nice to not have to juggle a plate and a clingy baby (and I already felt like I was on vacation because I only had the clingy baby to worry about and not a clingy baby, a fussy preschooler, a hyper six-year-old, and two shy young ladies).

At the very end of the meal I poured myself a glass of water from a freshly-filled pitcher and then set the pitcher down an arm length's away. Alexander wanted some water, too, so I was drinking as fast as I could so that I could offer him the last little bit of what was in my cup, knowing full well that if I offered him a sip from a full cup he'd get water all over himself (and likely me as well).

He decided to take matters into his own hands, however, and stood up on my lap and grabbed the rim of the pitcher, sending a tidal wave of water directly onto my lap! He was soaked, I was soaked, my diaper bag was a swamp of a mess, the table cloth was dripping wet, and there was a pool of water surrounding our chair.

It was rather embarrassing.

Aunt Sara held (a screaming) Alexander while I dug through the diaper bag to check the contents. Luckily, I'd thought to remove all his books from the diaper bag after the cemetery so those didn't get wet. My electronics were in cases so didn't get wet themselves (though the cases did).

The bishop ran to get a mop.

The aunts ran to get paper towels.

Alexander and I squelched out of the cultural hall to get dry. I spread the contents of the diaper bag out in the foyer and ran to the van to get our spare outfits (I was smart and packed an extra outfit for myself and Alexander (often I will just pack an extra outfit for the baby)). I couldn't have even reworn Sunday's outfit because I wore a slightly-too-short dress with leggings on Sunday and then because today was so cold I wore the leggings again under my sufficiently-long-for-the-weather skirt. So my skirt was soaked and my leggings were soaked. But I had a pair of jeans in my bag!

I just can't believe he managed to upset the pitcher like that! And that I wasn't able to stop him!

Nor can I believe the amount of things one pitcher of water can soak!

Once I had myself all put together again it was high time to leave. We had toyed with the idea of stopping by Auntie Emily's house for a visit but were leaving the funeral a little later than anticipated thanks to Alexander's escapades and the weather was iffy.

I mean, the weather up in Idaho was fine, but the weather in Utah was questionable. They'd had a winter storm earlier in the day that had made the roads quite nasty, even causing some closures along the highway. At one point Andrew even suggested we stay for an extra night, but then we looked at the forecast and saw that it was supposed to snow again tonight/tomorrow morning and decided that driving back then would be just as bad as driving back now, so we decided we'd just leave for home.

The roads were fine. Of course, we were getting to them a good six hours after it had stopped snowing so the plows had had plenty of time to go through. But still; they were great. And Alexander was a great little traveller again and we were all very happy to be home.

Andrew had dinner ready for me and I got to eat with my kids for the first time in days.

I know I was only up in Idaho for one night, but the night before I had gone out to dinner with my High River gals and the night before that Andrew and I had gone out for Andrew's department's annual post-Christmas dinner. It's honestly been kind of nice to eat without worrying about anyone else (aside from Alexander who came with me to Idaho), but it was also nice to be back around the table with my own wonderful children.

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