Northwest wing tip

Land of 10,000 lakes, and leaden gray skies that often drip

I made an unexpected trip to Minnesota last week to attend the funeral of my sister-in-law who died early Tuesday morning.

I don't visit Minnesota very often, so this was also an opportunity to catch up with my brother and sisters. I long ago gave up trying to keep track of all the nieces and nephews, much less their progeny. Some things are just too difficult.


Florence. Sibling #1, Florence became an octagenarian this year. She is the family historian and geneologist. No matter how distantly related, Sis (as we call her) probably has a picture and a newspaper clipping or two. Oddly enough, the one picture she can't seem to find is her own high-school graduation picture showing her with chubby cheeks.

Florence begat nearly as many children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren as a dog has fleas. I asked her for an exact count, but she didn't know.

Brother in law Bill
Brother-in-law Bill
Ethel, in her farm party T-shirt. "Crowd control" was printed on the back

Ethel. Sibling #2, Ethel and her husband Bill are two who ignore the no-working clause in the retirement contract. They still putter about their farm where they hold an annual picnic party for at least half the county.

Like her older sister, Ethel followed the exhortation to "go forth and multiply," thereby contributing to the population explosion with countless children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

Brother Harold (Desert Hot Springs, March 2004)
Harold's wife Donna (Desert Hot Springs, March 2004) Donna's death was sudden and unexpected.

Harold. Harold is sibling #3. Harold and his wife Donna are shown here during their last winter trip to California. For the past ten years they traveled about the country in their motor home — summers in Minnesota to be near their family and winters in warmer places like Florida, Arizona, and California.

Like the others, Harold, too, was fecund with many, many offspring. Harold and his dearly departed wife alone are responsible for 6 children, 10 grandchildren, and 2 great-grandchildren of their own (so far). (I only know these statistics because they were included in Donna's obituary.)

Carl and Edna
Carl and Edna in their favorite positions

Edna. Edna is sibling #5 (#4, Donald, died several years ago). A bit of a shirker, Edna begat only five children with still countable numbers of grandchildren.

Since she offered first, I stayed with my sister Edna and her husband Carl who live about 3 miles inland from the shores of Lake Pepin near Frontenac, Minnesota. Flocks of wild turkeys come down out of the hills every morning to forage, marching across the lawns as if they own they place.

turkey next to window turkeys on the lawn

Carl is supposed to be retired, but he apparently skipped the chapter in the retirement manual that mentioned not working, so he busies himself as a groundskeeper at a nearby golf course. He took me on a complete tour of the course. It's a beautiful course laid out on top of a bluff, and the trees are all decked out in their fall colors.

I wore all the clothes I brought with me. Carl wore coveralls over his t-shirt.

I really didn't need to be reminded of why I live in California. Brrr!

And yes, I'm #6.