My Mom called today to visit, and told me that she and Dad had gone to the local mortuary and picked out their caskets and made all the arrangements for their funerals. That certainly is a sobering thought. When we moved out here we added another 4 hours to the already 5 that it took to get to see my folks before we moved from the city. It made me think back a bit to my family's upbringing.
Mom was raised on a dairy farm in northeastern Minnesota. She was the youngest of 6 children, and couldn't wait to get off the farm. My Dad was raised in the city on the Iron Range in MN. They raised us in a little housing subdivision a mile from a town that boasted 862 people. There came a time when Dad heard of some land in the country that was for sale and wanted to build out there, but Mom would have nothing to do with it. She wanted to live in town, and so we did. Farm life had been hard for her.
Through the years our family has been compared to one of Mom's sister's families, regarding the fact that they were much closer as siblings and got together for any and every occasion to celebrate as an extended family. I have thought about that, and really feel the major difference between our family and theirs was the fact that my cousins were raised in the country, and we were raised in the city. My brothers and I were not that close, because in the neighborhood we all had our own friends to play with, and who needed then to play with siblings?
Yesterday I took a break and walked down the 1/4 mile driveway (which needs lots of gravel since it was just a cow path when we moved up here and will turn to mud when the frost leaves the ground!) to get the mail, and passed our two youngest boys building a snow fort by cutting blocks of snow out of some drifts that had become crusty on top. They were having the best time ever! They are each other's best friends. The same is true with the older boys as well, and no one has a problem interacting despite the age differences between the oldest and the youngest. They will be close friends for life.
I also keep remembering a comment that Mom made to me a while ago, when I talked to her on the phone and told her of our experiences with helping friends butcher over 80 chickens (plus bantams and ducks -- all in one day). She said to me, "Your Grandmother would be so proud of you!" I guess at this point in my life, that is the ultimate of compliments!