April 17, 2009

Tribute to 90 Years

Our dear neighbor Marianne turned 90 years old this week.
She amazes us.
At ninety years old, she lives on the family farm, goes up and down her basement stairs all winter long to throw wood in the stove, & drives her sister Helen, 95, around town.
Upon a visit to her house not that long ago, she said she doesn't know why so many people don't like the winter, she loves our seasons, and she feels like the time goes so fast. Her attitude is remarkable, even through long, cold winter.
She's traveled the country seeing new places, more in the past decade than most people do in a lifetime. We joke that her Christmas letter each year is something like "Where's Waldo," Marianne smiling from such a variety of scenery, be it Grand Central Station in NYC, a mountain in CO, the Grand Canyon, or on a cruise, holding an aligator.
We've had the privilege of knowing Marianne for almost exactly a decade now. We first met when we delivered a May basket to her the first year we'd moved to the neighboring property. Actually, she was out of town on one of her many travel adventures that May Day, but her husband Earl accepted the May basket, and Marianne came to visit us when she returned home.
Knowing them has been one of lifes great gifts to us. An invaluable presence since Mason & Eric were one year old, a significant imprint on our life, and our kids' early years.
Earl always said that children learn more in their first 5 years of life than they will in the rest of it's entirety, and I believe it. I'm so glad that they've had these incredible people to know during the years of becoming who they will be.
Earl loved the kids. I forever have a picture of him in my mind, holding a newborn Johnathan and boasting about how he reached out to grab his finger. He made "boot jacks" for Mason & Eric when they were young toddlers in mudboots. At that time, his vision wasn't well, and his fingers could not feel, but that didn't seem to stop him from much.
We've enjoyed countless stories of their land, telling of the way the fields were cleared with dynamite & a team of horses, tales of another time. The days of bachin' it, milking, animals; The horse that was struck by lightning, the mule that a dozen kids could sit on at once. Their kids, so many stories of raising their kids. They've raised a wonderful family, some of the nicest people we've met.
From the kindness & wisdom we've seen in them, to the rhubarb plant that grows in our garden, spaded from that of theirs, we are thankful. We've been blessed to know true neighbors.
Throughout her 80's, it was always such a special sight to see Marianne come walking across the field & climbing over the tall fence to visit.
Strong & spry, when giving her one of many 90th birthday hugs, she didn't hesitate to lift nearly 5 year old Lilly right up.
We adore her. The kids love visiting her house. Giving her hugs. Picking flowers for her. Drawing her pictures. So of course that is what they did for her special birthday.
Spring bouquets for Marianne
(getting good use of her mudboots along the way)
A look back: I wish I had older pictures than these, but they are all on film and will take some digging.
Marianne, Lilly & Johnathan. January 2005

December 2005
Beau's arrival, 2007
May 2008

1 comment:

  1. I've enjoyed hearing about your wonderful neighbors over the years.
    It's kinda like Violet & Alton...friendships like those are truly a blessing!