We'll Never Forget

In a prominent place in a cemetery in the next closest town, is a 9/11 memorial to a North Dakota daughter who was employed and perished in the World Trade Center. That town will never forget.  North Dakota will never forget. Texas will never forget. Our nation will never forget, nor will the world.  

Our own daughter, Heather, also left this world on 9/11, but the year was 1996.  Eighteen years ago.  She was 18 years old.  She has been gone as long as she was here.  Cystic Fibrosis took her much to young, but we got to keep her longer than we ever imagined when she was diagnosed at birth.

We will never forget her dreams and hopes and plans.  We'll never forget those mischievous eyes cutting over at us or her easy laugh. We'll never forget how everything held in her hands became animated at her bidding, even when she was 18. And we wish her niece and nephew could have played silverware puppets with her at the dinner table.  

We'll never forget her dolls and tea parties and stuffed animals with IV's in their puffy little arms and oxygen tubes taped to their button noses.  We'll never forget that her doctor called her "Heather Feather".  I remember that one time she said that she didn't really want God to heal her because that would mean she couldn't go to "CF Camp" anymore.  She loved that camp.

We'll never forget that she loved and worked with our little community theater for 5 years. We'll never forget that she drove a little sport car with a handicapped tag in the window, and she had a scholarship and had started her college classes.  We'll never forget that she studied art and left us a portfolio full of framable masterpieces. We'll never forget that she thought it was better her than her sister have that disease.

Maybe we'll have a footlong cheese coney from Sonic, or a dip of Blue Bell Rainbow Sherbert, or a Victoria's filet from Outback in her memory.  Or maybe we'll just remember,

because we will never forget.


Grandma's Getting Younger!

Grey-haired Grandma's almost sixty,
And she's fat and wide!
But Grandma bought a bicycle,
And you should see her ride!

Dishes might be in the sink,
and the furniture undusted - 
But there she goes on her bicycle,
This Grandma that we trusted!

Can't find her home to babysit,
Or borrow a cup of flour;
For there she goes, out riding again, 
Hour after hour after hour!

Sailing along on a bright spring day
or a balmy summer eve,
When the weather's nice, one thing you know
Grandma's sure to leave.

Of course we failed to mention,
"two-wheelers" she can not ride:
So we should call hers a tricycle,
With two back wheels, side by side.

At first she huffed and puffed along,
And couldn't go very far;
But now she speeds along as though
She's hitched her cycle to a star.

People look, and people laugh,
But Grandma doesn't care!

In fact she thinks they envy her,
Because they simply do not dare!

So if some day, far down the road
You see a cloud of dust,

Don't worry, it's just Grandma,
Coming home because she must!

(Now, for the rest of the story.  Since I've been in North Dakota, I've been on a rummage sale bicycle buying frenzy.  The first one was only five dollars, but I couldn't talk "Grandpa" into fixing the flats - so it was repurposed with red paint and geraniums. It's flat-tired partner got donated somewhere. The next bargain was a matching pair that had been left to winter outside and had, I suspect, rusty gears.  But I rode mine anyway.  I rode all over town.  I rode to the Post Office, and to the Grocery Store, and to the Park, and to church, and, and, and.  It had a basket and I have hauled everything from paint to pickles in it.  Then the next one was a beauty contest winner - a vintage replica cruiser with a pearl paint job and a wicker basket.  But when I started riding it, Papa decided I was going kill my wobbly self, so he found the three wheeler and bought it for me.  Now our garage is full...I mean FULL of cycles! Last week, he came home from a Norwegian Grandma's estate sale down the street with an armload of treasures and a poem. Grandma's bicycle was there, but not yet for sale. He hadn't read all of the poem until he got home and oh, mercy me.  You could have probably heard our howls and belly laughs all the way to Texas! So please, please read this little Norsky poem, author unknown, printed in my neck of the North Dakota prairie in another century.)

"Whenever I see an adult on a bicycle,
 I have hope for the human race."
(H.G. Wells)
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