My parents, Russell and Minnie Blood
Today is a day of remembrance. My wife, the mother, grandmother, and great grandmother of our own descendants has been gone since October 22 2015. Velna's parents , Volney and Pearl Black, and my parents, Russell and Minnie Blood, stand at the head of our growing family. We each carry a gene or two from each of our forebears. Not a day goes by that I don't remember my parents for the love, example of integrity and honesty that they endowed us with, and the enormous sacrifices they made to raise their family of six children, first through the Great Depression of the 1930s and then through the arduous years of eking out a bare-bones living on the farm in Penrose.
I often remember Velna's parents who were so kind to me and supportive of the blossoming friendship between Velna and me and then raised not a single objection to our marriage. I think of Volney, the locomotive engineer, going around town to pay his bills in his engineer's outfit, to save the postage of mailing the bills. I think of Pearl, Velna's mother, who took me in and fed me when I was starving and who flashed the porch light to signal to Velna that it was time for her to come in from the freezing Laramie cold.
My mother was first and foremost a teacher, and she did more than frown if we shirked our duties. My dad was one of the hardest working men I ever knew, irrigating and haying and shoveling and milking cows and working 16 hour summer days and yet with the gentle and creative soul of an artist in his legacy of marquetry work that graces the walls of all of his descendants. Of course, there are many others: my grandparents, Velna's grandparents, and others among our families who went before us. But we pause on this memorial day with a thankful heart and a head full of wonderful memories as we shed a tear or two for our losses and try to emulate the examples of those we have lost to make the best of our own remaining days. To my wife, Velna, you were the love and light of my life and I still struggle some times to get through the day without stumbling, without having you to ask if my symptoms are serious, to have someone to show my photos to and read my writing and tell me that whatever I cooked, no better how bad I thought it was, was still delicious. Dear girl, I do not ever remember an act of unkindness or criticism or regret from you in all of our years, and that is far more than I deserved. But we remember you and our other forebears in a special way on this special Memorial Day 2016.