My Mom asked if I could email her something to be read at the funeral service tomorrow afternoon. It got me thinking, and I thought I'd share it here too, as it turned out to be fairly cathartic for me.
This is what I wrote:
We Hedman kids were fortunate to live close enough to go to Grandma and Grandpa's farm for weekends and the odd summer vacation week. Although our care fell mostly to Grandma, there are a few things I remember about Grandpa's dealings with us as I grew up.
Going to get the mail with Grandpa was always an exciting activity. Besides getting to drive to the General Store on the corner in Willow River, we could usually persuade Grandpa to get us a treat, if he didn't offer first. He was a pretty soft touch, when it came to that. I have vague recollections of following him around in the barn while he did the milking, and he seemed to enjoy the hayrides as much as we did.
It was Grandpa Brown who taught me how to play chess. I remember the first game we played when he showed me how the pieces moved and tried to teach me how to think ahead. I believe my love of Scrabble was probably fostered at the farm when I was older as well. An evening game of Scrabble was an almost nightly ritual. Tea and Scrabble at the table, where the only sound besides the game conversation, was the crackling and hissing of the wood stove. Tea and Scrabble, to this day, are like comfort food for me. I haven't thought of it before now, but this is probably why.
I can remember laying in bed listening to Grandma and Grandpa have their devotions in the kitchen. I'm not sure if I was waking up or falling asleep, but as a child it was supremely comforting to hear the soft rumble of their voices as they prayed.
There are sounds that take me immediately back to the farm, and make me feel young and safe and loved: a bumble bee or a fly buzzing at the screen on an open window in the heat of a lazy summer day. The hiss and snap of a wood fire in an otherwise quiet room. The mooing of cows in the next field.
The things I've been blessed most by, since our move to The Field, are the smells and sounds of the country. The reason I've been blessed by them, is the ability they have to take me back to the farm at Willow River. I'm thankful for these memories, and I'm grateful for the Grandparents who made them.