Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020
From the desk of Daniel P. Finney, sergeant of the watch, Drake Neighborhood Station, Des Moines, Iowa.
ITEM ONE: Two dozen of us stood under and around a tent spiked to a hilly expanse at Highland Memorial Gardens to say goodbye to our beloved Lois Newcomb, mother, grandmother and great-great grandmother.
The pastor reminded us Jesus shared our grief. When Jesus went to the tomb of his old friend Lazarus, he saw the sadness in the faces of Lazarus’ sisters, Mary and Martha. Jesus knew he was about to perform the miracle of raising Lazarus. And yet he sanctified grief, expressed in perhaps the greatest sentence ever written: “Jesus wept.”
Family recalled Lois’ open heart, empathy and ability to forgive. Others remember her teaching grandchildren how to drive in the wide lanes of the same cemetery where Lois was laid to rest.
We prayed. A grandson played one of Lois’s favorite songs. We hugged. We shook hands. We cried.
The typist was silent. He saw Grandma Lois as the linchpin that kept a big family together. He hoped her death reminded us we are stronger together than apart and that periodically renewing our shared connection would be the greatest tribute we could pay her.
ITEM TWO: The typist learned late Friday that one of his closest friends has cancer. His wife, a respiratory therapist, contracted COVID-19 earlier this year. It passed to the typist’s friend. His symptoms lingered. Doctors eventually found a mass the size of an orange on one of his kidneys. Treatment includes the loss of a kidney. The prognosis is uncertain.
Again the typist is reminded of how precious life is. We live never really knowing how much time is left on the clock. The typist doesn’t believe in living every day as if it were your last. That would be exhausting.
Instead, look for a moment each day that you can be kind, extend grace and friendship or remind someone they are worthy of dignity and respect. Forgive. Love.
ITEM THREE: Left blank for you to allow readers a moment of peaceful reflection.
ITEM FOUR: Four more jokes to learn and say for Beggars’ Night in Des Moines:
Q: What is a tree’s favorite drink?
A: Root beer.
Q: What do you call a broken window?
A: A plain in the glass.
Q: Why don’t ducks tell jokes while they are flying?
A: Because they would quack up.
Q: When does it rain money?
A: When there is a change in the weather.
ITEM FIVE: The maximum age for trick-or-treating is 13 or eighth grade, whichever comes first. High school kids are close enough to jobs and driving that they can get their own candy. Stop begging off the neighbor.
ITEM SIX: Your trick-or-treat mask should be worn over your pandemic mask this year, but you still have to wear your coat over your costume if it’s below freezing.
ITEM LAST: Say thank you. This also applies for anytime someone gives you something or shows kindness.
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I am sorry about the passing of your Grandma Lois. You are so right that our elders are who keep our extended families together. Hopefully someone will step into her shoes as the person who sets periodic “command performance” reunions for the family to get together and revel in the shared memories.