December 25, 2012
I thought this year’s Ode might be for the birds,
Didn’t think I could come up with many happy words.
So, I delayed and waited and still no cards have been sent,
Looks like December just came and went.
But then I got some really great news about Dad,
It made me realize what a really great year I had had.
The past 4 months, Dad’s heart has struggled with rhythm,
Making for many ambulance rides and hospital visits for him.
But as of this week, his heart is in normal rhythm, for his body not such a load,
So, it is time for me to put my mind to work writing this Merry Christmas Ode.
January was cold, as Wisconsin winters should be,
Most of my outings involved basketball played by great nephews to see.
February, yes more basketball and photographing the many birds who come to feed,
I was even published by The Leader when I captured a picture of a black bear, exciting indeed.
Glenn’s team won the alumni basketball tourney as part of Luck’s Winter Carnival,
He was the oldest player, something which amazed us all.
March was more bball and if you can believe it, I flew to Las Vegas with Ev & Dad,
Celebrating Dad’s 90th birthday was the order of the day, what a fabulous trip we had.
Meeting nephews Andy and Dana and their beautiful wives,
It was a trip for all of us to remember for all our lives.
Much laughing over an airport mishap in
started it all, Des Moines
After 4 days in Vegas Baby, memories & stories we all will recall.
Before the last day of March, Glenn’s dock was launched at Big Moon,
An early spring for sure, it made Wisconsin-ites swoon.
April was perfect spring photography fun and watching my tulips and daffys bloom,
And attending a piano recital and dance recitals where great nieces performed in darling costume.
May was spent on yard work and gardening and enjoying time in the yard during the day,
And at night seeing raccoon and black bear busy messing with bird feeders, much to my dismay.
But living in the country comes with its own challenges and rewards,
Wild animals were here first I guess, but how many times will they tip the feeders, good Lord!
Watching great niece Jordyn play high school baseball was such a treat for me,
She’s a real savvy player and I wished there would have been more games to see.
Bird watching, photography & a few birthday parties too, all kept me busy in June,
I am also still taking piano lessons and learning to play a few familiar tunes.
Dad and Ev arrived at the beginning of July, a couple of months they planned to spend,
We enjoyed the summer together, Dad working in the wood workshop, hours on end.
They helped supervise as I had many of my trees trimmed and the dead elms taken down,
And also enjoyed watching as 4 new 12 foot fir trees were planted, a busy time all around.
A weekend baseball tournament brought great nephew Gage to stay, along with Eli, his friend,
Watching many games in the hot sun and taking many photos, wishing this July heat would end.
It looked good for my tomatoes though, the warm weather helping the plants to get huge,
But before long that dreaded blight started in, and in the end many ‘maters I had to purge.
Building friendships through playing the game Bridge has been a real treat,
And a two night get-a-way to a cabin Up North to “just play cards” was hard to beat.
A small landscaping project got done, which made me smile, as I did not have to lift a finger,
New large rocks added; old small rocks replaced and done so quickly, the workers didn’t linger.
August came along and Anders’ birthday was to be celebrated at Kris and Lora’s place,
So off to
we went, Dad and Ev
anxious to see their new space. Alma,
Maybe I should have noticed on that drive across
, but I was
Dad was short of breath and tired, and soon his health would give us a scare.
September 1st it was planned for the Johansen clan to gather for a day in Rice Lake,
A reunion of 35 – 40 cousins and family, for lunch 15 pounds of Barbeques I did make.
But about 3am Dad having pain breathing, a call to 911 and an ambulance ride to Lakeview,
Off to the hospital starting quite a journey for Dad, his heart in Atrial Fibrillation and his lungs holding fluid required serious medical attention…hard to rhyme about this kind of news.
Dad spent time in ICU, a week at rehab and finally home with health care coming to the house,
Nurses, PT, OT; for sure this house was not ‘quiet as a mouse’.
At the end October I drove the folks back to their
apartment home, got
them unloaded and set, Iowa
Dad was feeling good, we all needed our space, and winter was coming to the North you can bet.
His health going through highs and lows, many ER visits and for all of us much worry,
I decided to go down for a visit, just 3 days (turned into 11), to see if I could help
and I was not sorry.
By the time I arrived, Dad was back in the hospital, again his heart rate to fast,
The Cardiologists working to find the best medicine to slow his heart and make it last.
And finally this week, the Christmas gift we all had hoped for, a normal heart beat,
For Dad this means feeling great and getting stronger…the new year to greet.
So, a week ago I thought writing a Christmas letter would be for the birds,
But now I see what a gift I have been given, to spend time with Dad and Ev and help them when I could and for all of that, my gratefulness is hard to put into words.