Trifling Remembrances of Things Past: January 15

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My dad died on this day in 1994. He was born May 13, 1932 in Box Elder, Montana. I don’t know much about his early life. His father died when he was about the age of my daughter.  I’m not sure how someone grows up after that, but his mother remarried and had three more sons. They lived out in the oil fields north of Shelby, Montana. God forsaken country. Beautiful in an austere way.

He died just before the internet took over, in the living room of the house in Oregon from which he had earlier in life declared that he would leave only feet first. His wife was in the kitchen; friends and family were chatting in the dining room; two daughters of his cousin were on the couch playing.  It was late afternoon on a beautiful winter day. The rhododendron flowered six months early. I had told my dad, the trucker, that I had fixed the brakes to my car. When I came back into the house after a walk around the house, he was dead– squamous cell carcinoma. I told my sister quietly behind the refrigerator; my mother saw us and gasped and cried.

She served us some meat dish she had prepared, and asked us to eat. We ate. The food filled us.

One year later on the same day her older brother, Palmer, died.

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