LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Red Oak House Winter Notes No. 3: Life’s Passages

There are no “Garden Notes” this time of year at Red Oak House (although Jim did already order his 2019 tomato seeds), but I do occasionally write “Winter Notes.” This entry is deeply significant for me because of a life passage my family and I have been experiencing.

Autumn was short, cold and somewhat gloomy, and snow came early. Jim says it has not been a good hunting season, yet he and his pals have tramped around a couple of days now and shot pheasants, so they are happy. The sky has been filled with hundreds of geese, as the area’s small ponds have frozen and the Canadas are back and forth to the river each day.

The rush of Christmas preparations is upon us just as all around us. Decorating-check. Packages wrapped-check. Krumkake made-check (about 200).

Jim hit the Faith Lutheran cookie walk-check (he was first in line that morning). The homemade treats my college roommate sends me every year arrived in a package today, just when I needed something heartwarming in my life. Now I just have to guard my share!

Christmas is a big deal to us, and I’ve written about it last year (here). Cards are beginning to arrive each day in the mail and we so enjoy getting updates, especially from friends and family with whom we aren’t connected on social media or via texting.

Our main focus these past few weeks has been the transition my nonagenarian father made to a long-term care facility on Monday. That’s where the photograph of D-Day that our friend, Bob, gave him is now on the wall in his new room. (He was on Omaha Beach that day).

I have written about my extraordinary father before, including last year on Veterans Day. This year, we had him to dinner on Veterans Day and had a fine time (photo below). He is one of the 5 percent of World War II vets still with us, and we cherish each moment with him. Although these have been difficult days, we are so grateful that we were able to find him a home here in Mandan. God’s blessings to the wonderful staff who will be caring for him in his last years.

If you would like to send him a card or make a visit, please send me a message and I’ll get you his new address.

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