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Piano music under a big blue sky

by davesandel on November 12th, 2021

Friday, November 12, 2021                                        (today’s lectionary)

Memorial of Saint Josaphat, Bishop and Martyr

Piano music under a big blue sky

From the greatness and the beauty of created things their original author, by analogy, is seen.

Funeral plans are continuing apace. Mom’s grandchildren are coming to Lincoln from their homes across the globe (at least in Kelsey’s case). Yesterday Chris and Melissa were in Austin with Jack and Aly, and we sat in Andi’s living room and did some remembering. A book Grandma gave Melissa, introducing her to the writing of C.S. Lewis. Smells of the corn and soybean harvests, riding in the combine. Making cookies and eating them as soon as they cooled off just a little. American Girl dramas with a captive, but appreciating audience. Eating with Grandma and Grandpa night after night, and studying Greek under a desk lamp, after they both had gone to bed.

A month or two ago Mom asked me to find Ezekiel in her Bible. I found Isaiah and told her Ezekiel was another one of the major prophets. She took the book and found Ezekiel on her own. Her Bible reading, like Dad’s, increased as she approached her own last days.

Since 1976 she has lived in the house where she died. That house was built on the foundation of an older farmhouse, where my Sandel grandparents lived many years before. Going down the basement steps takes you into another, older world, where there is a room to store coal for the furnace and a set of concrete steps in the corner which once led into the kitchen, but now leads only up to the basement ceiling.

There are boxes down there for monitors and computers. Mom and Dad learned to use the computer when they were 75 years old. Mom sold books on eBay’s for a long time. She bought books all over the county at every library closeout, thrift shop and rummage sale she could find. She alphabetized them and filled the library, then one whole bedroom, and finally, for awhile, an unused freezer. Unplugged, of course.

On the day the Son of Man is revealed, someone on the housetop whose belongings are in the house must not go down to get them. Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it.

We will have to sift through so much of Mom’s life as we get that house ready to sell. She’s not coming back for any of it. Until recently she wrote journals year after year. Her thoughts, as well as records of the weather, visitors, and the happenings around the farm, bring her back to mind more than her furniture or the contents of her china cabinet.

The Christmas tree is still up from last year in the living room, next to her piano. She played well, like her sister Mary Lou, and like Grandma Sandel, who played by ear. Sometimes at Christmas our family sang carols. Someone usually read the Christmas story from Luke. The living room filled up more and more as children were born, and then those children brought their children. We have pictures of the 40-year-olds when they were two, or younger. Chris and Matthew are wearing nothing but their diapers and sitting on the same piano bench where I sat last month.

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. Day pours out the word to day, and night to night imparts knowledge.

The Texas sky has been huge, and darker blue than blue the last few days. At night the moon is waxing, and bright enough to light the whole town. Autumn moves quietly into winter. We sat on Andi’s screened in porch and played Cranium for an hour or so. It was getting cold. In the morning on Miles’ birthday we toured the local fire station. Everything was spiffed up, polished to a shine. They turned on the lights, the siren, and honked the horn. Their white pug Maxwell scared the kids.

John said that Mom pushed her Lifeline button numerous times in the couple hours before she died, even after he was already there. The firemen in that firehouse today would have been the ones to head to her house and help her get back up, if she’d fallen, or get her to the hospital, if she’d had a cardiac episode, or whatever it was she needed.

I think we were all thinking a little about this, as we admired the shiny red trucks, and Miles asked to see absolutely everything.

I know I was.

(Wisdom 13, Psalm 19, Luke 21, Luke 17)

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