Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Humor Is Where You Inherit It!

There is a joke in my husband's family, oft repeated.

The joke as told by my husband, "I will be the only 90 year old man
taking his 120 year old father to the doctor."

As Maven readers know, this joke is now sadly moot. I have often commented on marrying into this family of Montanans. This family has two admirable traits. They THINK they can fix anything and the telling of any story requires a touch of western humor.

Here I sit, between the family rock and the hard place. I don't recall ever fixing anything and my humor has always been questionable. So, what is my contribution? My job is witness. I have been a willing witness to the fixing and the humor for over forty-one years, but never more so than the last few weeks.

Both of these traits were called into question with the recent family troubles leading to the death of my father-in-law.

When my father-in-law became ill, the Montanans circled the wagons, put their heads together and tried to come up with solutions to fix things. Now, in this family fixing usually requires J.B. Weld. I've seen my father-in-law use it to fix his dentures, but it's never been tried on the human heart. Although it was suggested.

In the last week, my father-in-law fell out of bed several times. "Got a solution?" he asked. Duct tape was the collective response. "That should work," was his answer. They did what they could.

He suffered two strokes and three heart attacks in the seven days leading up to his death. After the strokes, he choked. He choked on everything including water. To combat this, the doctor had a thickener added to his fluids and food. Stop him eating and drinking too fast, they thought. My father-in-law hated this.

"Louie, what would you like to drink?" the nurse asked.

"Whiskey," my father-in-law replied.

"Whiskey?" the surprised nurse asked.

"Yep," he answered. "I never cared for whiskey, so if you're going to ruin something it might as well be something I don't like."

His mind was razor sharp to the very end, and as you can see, so was his sense of humor. It is appropriate to smile here! He would have encouraged it. These would have been some of his favorite stories. I am witness to this.

Yes, I'm Back, But. . .

Recently my life has gotten a bit out of hand.
The problem lies in the management of my
dreaded in-boxes!

fM is having trouble keeping order!

Three regular email in-boxes
Three Blog's Comments - A blog's in-box
Magazine Platform Comments - Another in-box
GYRabbit Subscription Form - An in-box
Twitter - One large in-box with small messages
faceBook - The mother of all in-boxes

I am working on my in-box dilemma.
If you have written, Thank You!
I will get back to you!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Obituary - Lewis Wilson Palmer

Without question, this is one of the most difficult pieces I have ever had to write. How do you capture a life lived well and long? A life of which you were an integral part. I'm still not sure. I only hope I have done justice to a man who was loved by all who knew him. Good-bye Lewis, you live on through your family who are so like you.

Lewis Wilson Palmer
27 April 1918 – 12 January 2011

If the measure of a man's worth is the lives he has touched
and the friends he has made, Lewis Palmer
was truly the wealthiest man on earth.

Lewis Wilson Palmer went home to be with his beloved wife Lucille on 12 January 2011.

Lewis was born an identical twin on 27 April 1918, in Bainville, Montana, to the late Edward Mearl and Olive Suter Palmer. At the height of the depression and drought the Palmer family gave up on the dry earth of eastern Montana, loaded their worldly possessions into a boxcar, and moved to the green beauty of the Mission Valley. E.M. and his sons began their new life in the Mission Valley on a small farm west of Charlo.

Lewis had the good sense to marry Emma Lucille Harvey on July 3, 1940, in Dixon, Montana. Childhood friends, they shared a love that would endure until her death in 1999. Farming and times were tough. As Lewis now had a growing family to provide for, he left the farm to find work. He drove a milk truck and prospected for gold in Idaho, but soon found the job for which he would forever be identified.

For forty years Lewis was the ditch rider for the Mission Valley Irrigation Project. There could have been no more perfect job for him. Lewis loved the outdoors, the people he worked with and the farmers he served. In his 93 years he probably covered every inch of the Valley and met every family. He left his mark wherever he traveled. Look out across the Valley. See the burst of yellow iris? Lewis Palmer was there.

He trapped, he fished, he hunted; in his spare time he took up taxidermy. From jackalopes to standing Emu, he created mounts for them all. And he proudly displayed them for many years in the annual Charlo Fourth of July Parade. The town of Charlo honored him with the title of “Charlo’s Most Beloved Citizen.”

Life with Lewis Palmer was always an adventure. From slipping live fish into the children’s evening bath water to teaching those children, their children, and his great grandchildren the secret of catching a fish. He said it often and meant it; "Family is the most important thing.”

Lewis’ best friend was his brother Delbert. Del came to town every morning to collect his mail and stop at Lewis' for coffee and conversation. As hard as it is to believe, they had something to say to each other every morning even after ninety years. Often in a language all their own and often not requiring that a sentence be finished; they talked, planned, and executed the day's adventures. Their love of each other is something the family will hold in their hearts and memory forever.

Lewis’ green thumb was legendary; from the glorious begonias that bloomed every year, to his huge flower and vegetable gardens, and his uncanny knack for tree grafting that produced some of the most unique trees in the Valley.

But were he to be remembered for anything it would be his sense of community. He loved his neighbors. And he shared his love with them all. Their troubles were his troubles; their joys his joys. He unselfishly shared his time, knowledge, humor, possessions, and many stories with them. If Lewis could do it, he would do it.

With the passing of Lewis Palmer the Valley turns the last page on a wonderful life and says good-bye to a wonderful man. We are all the richer for having known him.

Family names withheld.