In Dreams …

Most of us have had our share of vivid dreams. Dreams that have stumped us. And, those we do not remember at all.

Sometimes the setting is familiar, while other times, we are in the middle of parts unknown. The same can be said of the cast of characters, both familiar faces and unfamiliar faces. One of the more memorable characters making a dream appearance is Evie. Who is Evie? I don’t have the slightest idea, except I was married to her. Another resembled the actress Annie Parisse. Annie is a very attractive woman, yet I have not met her. In the dream, her name was Andrea. She was not my Andrea, but we knew each other quite well. Her line, “Are you ready to go?”

Before waking early Sunday morning, I had a dream of my dad. I asked him how he was doing. “Doing fine,” was his reply. Needless to say, it was very powerful imagery. Awake, I did pop my head into his room. Unfortunately, he was not there. Sammie Kitty, on the bed, raised her head.

The interpretation: he was okay. And, all is okay on this side too.

Grilling Time

A flawless, Colorado blue sky, a warm 50. With the girls home for the weekend, before lunch, it was perfect for some noontime grilling. The chance to grill, during the winter season, you take advantage of the opportunity. Especially, two days after five inches of snow. Yet, we planned to eat inside. The chairs outside were still wet from the melting snow and ice.

On the menu, hamburgers with cole slaw on the side. Nancy prepared an Asian-flavored slaw.

 

Nancy was eager to meet the girls again. She was very impressed with them, asking them about med school, horses and competing at shows. “I apologize for my thousand and one questions. I am so impressed with your accomplishments, and how you balance it all.” They thanked her for the kind compliment. “At times,” Deborah said, “we wonder how we manage it all ourselves.”

Later, Nancy noted how genuine they are. “For all they have accomplished, they are very grounded. You must be very proud of them,” she whispered. “I can’t believe how gorgeous they are too, David.”

Breakfast

She had breakfast waiting. “You were up early for your conference call. I thought you’d be hungry.”

“Laurie is going to ask you what happened to her husband,” I said, sitting in the kitchen. I told Nancy she was spoiling me. She smiled. “A proper breakfast will take you farther into the morning compared to cookies. Besides, I love your kitchen.”

Nancy made pancakes, served with a slab of butter and maple syrup. Orange juice. And, fresh coffee.

During breakfast, Nancy and I talked a lot about pancake making. She liked it when we had pancakes for dinner. Since it was dinner, I added a Denver omelet and sausage to our plates. And, we had the good coffee to go with dinner, Royal Kona.

After breakfast, we watched the snow fall for several minutes. “Not a bad breakfast for a snow day, Roth.”

“Thank you, kindly. Off to work you go. I’ll call you for lunch. Be good.”

Memories

A flood of memories returned when I came across her photo, alone in my notebook. Oh, how Andrea and I have missed her. She would have called during the holiday season, to wish us the best and the merriest of time.

This week marks six months since her passing.

She is more than one of a half million. She is a daughter. A 19 year old who had her whole life in front of her. Dan and Terri, her parents, are still reeling from her loss. And, will, for the remainder of their lives.

Morgan Natasha LaSalle

In the optimism of the moment, those who have passed from COVID are fast becoming an afterthought. With the passage of time, they will be largely forgotten. Time only stands still for those who mourn.

When Tasha was interred at Arlington National Cemetery, she received the closest to a military funeral for a family member. Those of us who served with Dan wore our Service Dress Blues, not only to honor Dan, but Tasha as well. We are able to remember when she was an infant, a toddler, a little girl, and a blossoming young lady. At Arlington, Tasha will always be remembered when there is no one else to remember her.

I found a frame for Tasha, and a place on our family credenza. Tasha is one of our own.

Her sails are full. Her destination, the far horizon.
“Miss LaSalle, the watch is yours.”

A Solemn Visit

Wednesday, February 18, 2020

The family was assembled, along with a few friends. A private Memorial Service, first, followed by the commitment ceremony at Pikes Peak National Cemetery. The small service seemed fitting. Dad wasn’t one for large gatherings.

A seven-man military detail and a bugler, from Ft. Carson, were silently standing, waiting for our arrival at the cemetery. They had waited in the cold, windy conditions for more than thirty minutes. Dress blues. No coat, no gloves. When we stepped out of the cars, the detail came to attention. The precision of a military funeral began. After the cremated remains of mom and dad were placed on a ceremonial table, Fr. Price from St. Mary’s Cathedral offered the final prayers.

Laurie tightened her hold of my hand. Deborah, holding my other hand, tightened her hold too. The rifle volley, the playing of Taps, followed.

The last portion of the committal ceremony was the folding and presentation of the flag, followed by the presentation of the Presidential Gold Certificate. All the words were said, “On behalf of the President and a grateful Nation …” After the Presidential Certificate was presented, the ceremony was concluded.

Before leaving the cemetery, I needed to sign a pair of forms, and provide final approval of the grave marker. On dad’s side of the marker, I would have listed everything – Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Prisoner of War. There wasn’t enough space however. On mom’s side of the marker, a three-line personalization.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

A year later, today was not much different. Very gray. Cold. A little snow. The sun then began to poke through the overcast, eventually giving way to patches of blue sky. With Laurie, Andrea and the girls away, Nancy came with me. First, we stopped at the florist to pick up the pink and white carnations she had ordered. It was her first time at the national cemetery.

She laid the carnations, said her prayers. “I’m so sorry, David,” while giving me a hug.

After spending a few more minutes at their grave, Nancy and I walked back to the car. I told her mom occasionally asked me about her. “I guess she thought we would become a couple or just be close, close friends.” Nancy flashed a smile. “That was sweet of her. Close, close friends, I like that.”

Before leaving the cemetery grounds, I showed her around. The cemetery has changed over the past year. A second committal shelter has been added. The main administration and visitor center building completed. Columbariums added.

Then, I showed Nancy where Andrea and I had Kyle reinterred here. From her bag, she pulled out a small teddy bear. Nancy knelt, covering her eyes in prayer. I knew she was crying. After a couple of minutes, I helped Nancy to her feet. I asked if she was okay. Nancy nodded yes.

Our drive home was quiet.