When working, he'd sit at his desk and Lizzie would lay at my feet all day except for lunch time. Then, at the same time each day, she would go up the stairs and flip the toilet seat and let it down with a bang. That was usually her sign that her water bowl was empty, but at lunch time it meant, "Come upstairs, and let's go to lunch!" Whenever she did it, Rich would always smile and say to me, "Let's blow this place for a while." Then we'd laugh.
My desk was over near the stairs. When Jack came along, he would come running like a fool, down the stairs, stick his head between the railings, steal a pencil out of my pencil holder and run back upstairs. We laughed every time he did it. He had so much extra skin on him that as he leaned down it would cascade forward into wrinkles - he looked more like a blood hound than a Lab. Such a character. We had shelving filled with books and other office supplies. Sometimes, he would come down with a bone and remove books from a box, put the bone in, and cover it back up with books. Then he'd look around, suspiciously, to see if we had been watching. We were always guilty, in his eyes, so he'd take the books out, again, retrieve his bone, and go through the same ritual in another spot. This went on daily.
The basement being empty for over 9 years left me with a job I couldn't finish on my own. I've prepared the past several months by filling one garbage bag at a time. My back just couldn't handle more than that. I put a few things aside that my kids want. My granddaughter's boyfriend just bought a house so I saved the shovels, spades, pitch fork, pole digger, etc., for him. There are a few other things that my kids wanted, too. I think I probably had 50 contractor bags of stuff. Some I could get to the street, others I couldn't. Then, of course, there were the tools, the file cabinets, the desk, etc. The kids, a couple of times a number of years ago, had straightened it up for me, but as time passed it became like a dungeon--spider webs and all.
Just before the men left around noon, one of them asked me, "Does this go?" I hesitated and felt a catch in my throat as I touched his chair one last time, and then watched it go. There was no reason to keep it, but...I'm feeling like I want to see it, again. This will pass, too. Another milestone behind me.
|Jack First Day Home|
|Jack One Year Old|
|Lizzie 1st Day Home-So Tiny and Precious|
|Lizzie--Her First Trip West|
|Jack Slowing Down|
|Jack's Time to Do as Little or as Much as He Wants|
|Rich/Lizzie on Mt. Hebo Where He Was Stationed|
|No More Running Up and Down the Stairs|
|Lizzie Vogel State Park|