Friday, May 30, 2014

My Brother Walt ( May 30, 2014)

                                                  Walt & Mom    

       Many of you, like me, may remember Memorial Day was always  May 30, and  only in recent times  is  Memorial Day celebrated on the closest weekend to that date,  to allow for a  three day holiday.  No matter the date change ,  I  will always think of May 30 as the traditional and true  Memorial Day - not only because I recall the sweet stories  my mother told  me from the time I was a young girl of  how she and her family drove each Memorial Day  from Council Bluffs  to  the cemetery in Odebolt, Iowa  to place a fresh bouquet of Peonies on  grave sites of aunts and uncles and other beloved , but because May 30, 2010 is the day my brother, Walt Cooney passed away.

        I'm  not alone in knowing the pain of losing a sibling, there are many, including friends who  have lost a  beloved sister or brother . How  easily I can  sympathize and  understand their anguish and sadness of losing one so dear, one  they were so connected to, one   so cherished.

      My brother was very dear to me, I loved him unconditionally, and was always proud to be his  big sister - from the day our Mother brought Walt home from the hospital I was his champion, he was the most perfectly beautiful baby - from the beginning we were simpatico, and I instantly   felt  called to be his protector, a feeling that would remain with me throughout my brother's life.  I'm happy to say Walt and I  would always have a close bond - we shared and experienced so much together.

     On this day, the fourth anniversary of his death I especially think of our mother who lost her youngest child, her only son - the one she called her 'Golden Child', and the lifeline they had one to the other.   And Dad, too , who just last month showed me a view  near his   house in The Village's my brother liked very much when he visited there - a place Dad  now calls 'Walt's View'.
     Mom and I often talk of Walt, about some fun thing  he said or did - how for so many years we were the "Three Musketeer's".  Today,  mother will share how Walt called her the morning of May 30 to tell her he would be there (at her house) in a month to help clear out her garage, and fix  bathroom plumping, and how she couldn't wait to see him.  I will silently relive  mom calling that evening to tell me my brother had died  -  how together,  our hearts were  broken and  our sorrow,  at that moment seemed unbearable.

      But for the grace of God, and the promise of His enduring love in the glory of Jesus Christ ,  we would not have been able to carry on. We know Walt is with the Lord - praying for us,  waiting in Heaven, like we are here on earth until one day when we'll  meet again.

                             Walter Cooney 1954 - 2010  RIP+

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Precious Moment

O peaceful morning!
How lovely you are
the sun rising
over the mountain
streams light across the lake;
It glitters like gems found
in a treasure chest
The red fir , white fir and
pines are still shrouded
in a dewy mist,
the air is fresh and crisp
The busyness , the noise
of the day is yet to come
and I'm grateful for
this moment of solitude
to ponder, and give thanks
for God's creation and
nature's beauty

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Bird Song

(for my Dad, who recently read aloud to me the verses of  Kate Greenaway)

I sit on an old
stump of a log
and watch as
early morning sun
shines like a spot light
on a forested  stage
and listen to 
a chorus of birds
perform their sweet
Spring song, making
me wish I could
sing along


Thursday, April 3, 2014

A Walk With My Son

    No high  dollar adventures, small pleasures suit me fine,  like today when my son, Gavin  came upstairs and said he was going for a walk and asked if I'd like to go with him. It took me less than a second to say yes. I quickly changed my shoes and off we went down the old rock road. Our dog , Maggie doodle trailing happily behind.


    The sky overhead a beautiful blue, the  April sun warm against our still   wintery, pale white skin. I thought about long ago years, that don't seem so long ago,  when my son and I spent hours together sharing, and playing with Fisher-Price  Litte People , Disney characters,   and Ninja Turtles. Throwing the ball back and forth.  Reading books and coloring books. 

    Gavin is no longer a little boy , and has his own view of a grown up world , busy with life and work and love,  but  happy am I  on our afternoon walk as  he tells me about his  hopes and scope of future dreams.  I listen , and my heart smiles as  he talks of possibility and  his goals to achieve.



Friday, March 7, 2014

The Lovely Mrs. Wagner

     Some people we meet at a very young age, and their influence leaves a lasting impression throughout our life. I'm blessed to have many such people in my life,  and think of one person now who is very dear to me. It  was 1957 and I was  in second  grade  when I met Mrs. Wagner. My mother had arranged  for me to  ride   to school with the Wagner's.

  The Wagner children , including daughter , Susan attended  Zion Lutheran, while I went to St.Rose of Lima on the opposite corner.  Over the years , Susan and I would become best of friends and share many adventures and momentous times together.

   But at that first meeting, I was a kid who didn't much like being away from my mother and dad, or familiar folks and was a little shy to be riding to school with people  I didn't know. It was Mrs. Wagner's  kindliness and happy  smile that helped me feel secure, and welcome. March 10th, Mrs. Wagner will be celebrating her 99th birthday, and  her smile is the  same great smile  I remember from long ago - a joyful, happy smile that still makes me feel secure and welcome, and  makes me want to smile, too !

    While Susan and I got a ride to school with her parents, we would often walk home. I must say, a walk much easier for me than for Susan as she suffered with Leg Perthes and had to walk with metal crutches and a brace strapped  around her waist until she was ten years old. In my youthful innocence, I'm not sure I really understood Susan's challenge, but am happy to say,  intuitively , I knew  Susan had to walk at a slower stride , and so  never tried to outpace her, but always walked by her side.  Well, until we got into high school, and Susan had the fastest time around the track !

     At night Mr. and Mrs. Wagner set up an apparatus to keep Susan from putting any weight on her foot and  used a 5lb. bag of sugar as a pulley to keep her foot suspended in air. Susan remembers her parents never complained about that chore they did night after night, and says  watching the care her mom and dad so lovingly gave, helped shape how she cares for her own children and grandchildren;  and   how her  difficulties at such a young age molded her determination, competitive  spirit  and can do personality.

       Throughout our teenage years, Susan and I were always at each others house - I don't think a day  went by we didn't see each other or talk on the phone.  One afternoon while at Susan's, Mrs. Wagner was  gently  reprimanding  her older brother, Terry for neglecting a chore. I remember Terry picked up a broom , danced around the room, saying  in a teasing, light hearted  way, "Here, Mom! Go ahead,  take it , and give me swat". Mrs. Wagner got the giggles , and we all started to laugh. It was an endearing moment, and one that has stuck with me all these years. The last time I visited with Mrs. Wagner, a year or so ago,  I shared that memory with her, and she got the giggles all over again.
        I don't recall seeing Mrs. Wagner ever wear slacks or capri pants, only dresses , like Mrs. Cleaver on Leave it to Beaver.  Even when she drove Susan and I to the beach after our 9th grade graduation , she wore a summer dress. Her example of how women should look and live, and conduct themselves  was a positive role model to all of us young gals.  Both Mr. and Mrs. Wagner lived their faith by example - Mr. Wagner owned Don's Hamburgers  on the corner  of Heliotrope and Randolph. My mother, brother and I lived across the street.

    One Saturday evening  when mom stopped in for hamburgers for us, Mr. Wagner  added 3 vanilla malts. Mom, looked surprised, and told Mr. Wagner she only ordered hamburgers. At that time  Mom was on a pretty strict budget, and the malts would have been an extravagance.  Mr. Wagner told her, " You just take these home to Kathy and Walt, Mrs. Cooney, it'll make their hamburger taste better, and add a little calcium for their bones".  My mother has  never forgot that kindness, and said it is one she has tried to immolate.

       Don and  Neoma Wagner were married in 1944, and together raised five children -  Don (Mike), Terrence, Susan, Pamela, and Reid - all  of which I'm privileged to have  known.  Mr. Wagner passed away at age 67, and eldest son, Mike,  two years ago.  The Wagner's were, and are a wonderful family.  And as anchor and guide, their dear  mother, Mrs. Wagner!,  who leaves  a  legacy of wisdom and joy,  deep faith in  our Lord and  Savior,  Jesus Christ,  and love - not only to her children, but also her grandchildren and great-grandchildren - and to all, like me,  who have been graced by her goodness.

                          Happy Birthday, Mrs. Wagner !