First, thanks for the many kind comments and emails about my last post. It's been a long few weeks, and I hugely appreciate the support.
But today, I have to chuckle. Oh, my, the outbursts on Twitter and Facebook last night and this morning! Snowmageddon! The world will end! It's Minnesota! And it's snowing!
I know, not everyone likes snow as much as I do (and yes, I am the chief shoveler in my household, so I get to experience the downside). But for all the dire predictions, a quick look at the 24-hour forecast showed that we'd get snow here in the Twin Cities--and it would promptly melt. That's exactly what's happened. Snow all night, sunshine and warmth today, and nearly all of it is gone from my yard. Didn't even have to shovel. Temps expected in the 60s and maybe even 70s by Saturday. Buck up, Minnesotans! Be stoic and Minnesota Nice about it!
Things have been very quiet here at Flyover Land in recent weeks, and the following is the reason for that.
Oof-dah. Where to begin? I’m not sure what Mom would think about having her funeral on tax day. Maybe she’d just shrug and say, as she often did, “Whatever.”
When she died on April 9, Eudora Annette Beck Frickstad Crippen had lived a very full 82 years. There were things in life she wasn’t fond of, like the snake that wrapped itself around her ankle when she was out in the yard one day, or the hair curler that she picked up off the floor that turned out to be a live mouse. She claimed not to like Democrats, but if they liked her pie, she could be persuaded. She preferred to be called Dora rather than Eudora, but allowed a few people to call her Eldora. Even though she wasn’t fond of her name, she did enjoy traveling to several small towns in the southern U.S. that were called Eudora. Those towns returned her interest, and she got quite a kick out of being interviewed by the local newspaper in Eudora, AR.
There were many things she did love: homemade pie (although she disagreed with her husband on how to make pie crusts and noted that she’d been making pies 30 years longer than he had), lefse, Elvis Presley, taking road trips around the U.S. and a much-loved 25th anniversary trip to Hawaii. She loved her sewing machine and serger and for many years, sewed clothes for family members and eventually began quilting. She would get so caught up in her creations that other things, like potatoes boiling in a pan, would be forgotten, to the detriment of the potatoes and the pan.
Burned potatoes aside, she loved food and was well known as an excellent cook and baker who often kept pie crusts and pans of lasagna in the freezer for unexpected visitors. Nothing made her happier than to have friends show up on her doorstep, where they were certain to find the coffee already on (as it was from the moment she woke daily) and sit down for a good visit. Everyone in the family had their favorite food that she’d make for them.
Music was very important to her, and she spent many happy Saturdays ironing while listening to Judy Garland, Mario Lanza, Teresa Brewer, and Patti Page. The love of music is something she passed down to both her kids and shared with her husband, as they spent many happy years taking in concerts and musical plays.
Her career in banking gave her a close-knit circle of lifelong friends, with whom she shared many happy girlfriends’ lunches at the Keg & Cork in Bemidji.
She loved a good joke, and she loved sharing jokes with others. As one friend said, “When we invite Ernie to visit, we want him to bring Dora, so we’re sure to laugh.”
But most of all, Dora loved her family. Her parents Elvina and Louis Beck, siblings Wilbur, Eileen, and Milton, all of whom predeceased her. Her cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and in-laws, whom she loved to visit with during family reunions. She loved cooking for her family, and her family loved her cooking. In recent days, while reminiscing about Dora, we all remembered our favorites from her food repertoire. Grandson Steve Frickstad loved her twice-baked potatoes, while grandsons Mitchell and Michael Rea both chose sloppy Joes. Her son Mike Frickstad still salivates at the thought of her beef strips with rice, while daughter Amy Rea recreates Dora’s spaghetti with meat sauce on a regular basis. And then there’s Ernie “Mine Ern” Crippen, her husband of nearly 54 years, whom she loved even more than Mark Harmon on NCIS. After much deliberation, he narrowed his choice down to Dora’s pot roast.
Alzheimer’s is a cruel disease, robbing the inflicted of much, but right up to the end, when Ernie visited, she’d smile, and when he asked, “Would you like a kiss?” she puckered up. Sometimes almost scandalously so.
Although so much of what made Dora Dora disappeared in the last months of her life, the real Dora still popped out on occasion, such as when Mike asked her how she was. Her eyes popped open and she said, “Not bad for an old broad!”