Friday, May 31, 2013

May Blossoms

The ornamental cherry tree that Jim and Joanne Christner gave us when we built the lake house is stunning this year. I have been watching it this week, waiting for the buds to open.

Yesterday morning I stepped outside and sensed a blaze of color. Sure enough, it was the Christner tree, in full bloom, and making a deep pink statement in the spring landscape.

Copyright 2013
Wanda Hayes Eichler

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Ice Cream Mixture

It's kind of a concoction, I guess, this ice cream mixture that got stirred together in our kitchen this week. I was thinking of my Dad and of how much he enjoyed ice cream. One thing lead to another and this mixture is the result.

Ed fixed the first batch and I did the second. Both were equally enjoyed. Here's what we did.

Take one quart of vanilla ice cream and scoop it into a mixing bowl. We used vanilla bean ice cream. The silver knife in the photo is actually a flat ice cream scoop that is wide on one end and looks like a metal spatula. That's what we used to dip and mix this recipe.

Add about a half cup of crunchy peanut butter. We used St. Laurent's natural peanut butter, salted. Then chop up about an ounce or two of dark chocolate. I had a 72% Godiva bar on hand. Ed snapped it into small chunks by hand and then used a chef's knife to chop the small pieces.

Mix the three ingredients and put into a freezer container. We used a Pyrex glass dish with a plastic cover. Freeze until hard and enjoy.

It's like having your own custom made ice cream flavor. We're thinking M&Ms and peanuts would be good. So would maple syrup and toasted walnuts. Or raspberry freezer jam with dark chocolate.

Well, you get the picture! Mmmmm.

Copyright 2013
Wanda Hayes Eichler

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Fog swept in off of Lake Huron toward evening last night. A spring thunderstorm in the afternoon brought warm air which met the cool water and produced layers of fog along the shoreline.

Our lakehouse is about 43 degrees north of the equator, so contrast the photo of the Lake Huron's shore with this one, taken near San Sebastian, Spain last week in Basque Country.

It was a Sunday afternoon, late in the day, and clouds hung over the Atlantic. The coastline of Spain is mountainous here. San Sebastian is 20 kilometers from France and is located on the Bay of Biscay. If I had turned the camera toward the harbor you would be looking at a long crescent beach that is the envy of the coastline and the heart of this beach resort town.

Interestingly enough, San Sebastian is 43.32 degrees north while our lakehouse is 43.66 degrees north. It was a wonder to me to realize that we flew north toward the Arctic Circle and then south into Barcelona and ended up at almost the same distance north as we are at home.

It's a small world, in many ways.

Copyright 2013
Wanda Hayes Eichler

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

First Geraniums

The initial foray out to the plant places has been made. Six geraniums, two yellow thyme plants, two rosemary starts, and a couple purple sweet potato vines will be the ingredients of the porch pots that get planted this week. I couldn't help but throw in a few English ivy plants, too.

I always like to mix up the combinations for the porch pots, but the main theme is always a geranium, usually in red. Ed and I look the geranium colors up and down, trying to find the deep reds that we really like, but have found that the tone of the color isn't as important to our eyes as is the red. I'm actually going to mix the thyme in with one pot -- I figure a few herbs in the mix can't be all that disconcerting.

So, here we go. It's planting time!

Copyright 2013
Wanda Hayes Eichler

Monday, May 27, 2013

Oriole Momma

Memorial Day seemed a good time to hang the hummingbird feeder for the first time this summer. Ed's been hearing the hummers as they do their Star Wars land speeder trips from cedar tree to cedar tree.

Lo and behold, the momma orioles found the sugar water quickly. Here's one, clinging to the circular perch and savoring the sweet treat of fresh hummingbird nectar.

At first glance we thought this bird might be a female goldfinch, but then the longer tail and bright song said, "oriole momma!"

More hummingbird posts from last May:
Baby Hummingbird
Beverly Sills Iris and More Hummingbird Talk

Copyright 2013
Wanda Hayes Eichler

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Incredible Weariness

We watched the shipping lanes on Lake Huron in front of Cedar Bluff today with renewed interest. After travel to Spain this last week and a half, three trips to Wisconsin to see my Dad, and then for his death and funeral, a quick trip to Arizona to celebrate Ed's birthday, well, I am feeling an incredible weight of weariness. So, I watch the freighters -- over a dozen of them today -- carrying their weight of cargo as they ply the Great Lakes and I think about the load that I have been carrying these past few months.

There is the challenge of time travel for me. I don't recover well from travel through time zones. It usually takes me a day per time zone to get over the brain fog and tiredness from travel, especially air travel through multiple time zones. I have always been like this, unable to bounce back from travel with vim and vigor. I need space and time to recover after a trip.

Then there is the huge wad of grief that is clogging my soul. I am missing my father in ways that I never thought possible. The awareness that I no longer have a focus for my blog is looming big in my mind. I see a photo, a flower and I think of him and of how I would describe it for him. From time to time, but almost daily, sobbing shakes me for a few moments. Honest to goodness, tearful sobs. The kind that make you lean over and just shake.

But there are moments of calm that pierce the sadness. Ed brought me a pile of mail that had come while we were in Spain. I sat in the great room late this afternoon and opened a three inch think pile of cards from friends who wanted to remember my Dad. Some were from his ministerial colleagues in Wisconsin, most of whom I got to know, but a few were from younger pastors whose lives were shaped in some small way by knowing Dad. I handled each card with care, admiring the handwriting, the choice of card, the little notes, the stamps chosen.

The weariness will lift, that I know. I will get some sleep. I'll walk and eat well and begin to rebound from the travel. The other incredible weight, that of grief, will take longer to absolve. It will fade slowly into admiration and appreciation and memory and, yes, a lonesomeness that one feels when losing a parent, especially the second parent.

So tonight I am like a freighter, with tons of care and tiredness, plying the shipping lanes of life, ready for a harbor and a good night's sleep.

Copyright 2013
Wanda Hayes Eichler

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Madrid Celebration

Traditional Spanish paella headlined the final dinner on Friday night that capped off another successful Pipedreams tour. The festive dish with seafood, pork, veggies and rice was carried into the dining room by two servers.

It was the second time on the trip that I had paella. Another favorite of mine was Spanish omelet, often served as a tapa or for breakfast. The meals were wonderful, as well as the wines, especially the tempranillos.

We are back in the States, waiting for our now delayed flight to Detroit, so I figured that I would get this blog post up before I am asleep for hours. Tomorrow there will be more photos from the tour. Today, travel makes blogging a bit more complicated.

Copyright 2013

Wanda Hayes Eichler

Friday, May 24, 2013

Madrid Organ Masterpiece

We are pretty tired after a week of touring with the Pipedreams group in Spain, but today's final organ, a 69 stop, four manual Grenzing organ made in 1991, took my breath away. The Auditoria Nacional de Madrid is home to this fine instrument. It is a massively beautiful instrument.

I have been watching for cherubs each day and this tumble of figures found in the Basilica Pontifica de San Miguel is the largest grouping of cherubic figures that I have discovered yet on this spring's Pipedreams tour.

The artist arranged all of the figures like a bouquet of flowers, some stuck here, another there. At first glance, this carving is a mishmash of arms and legs and heads, but after studying it for a bit, it really works.

Copyright 2013
Wanda Hayes Eichler

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Small Cathedral, Big Heart

Nobody has to stand at the door and greet people as they leave a church, especially a cathedral. But that is exactly what happened today as the Pipedreams tour group left Catedral de Santa Maria Magdalena in Getafe, just south of Madrid. The priest of the church stood at the door and thanked us for visiting today.

The church, designated a cathedral in 1991 with the creation of the Diocese of Getafe, was abuzz with preparations for a festival honoring their Virgin of the Angels.

Fresh flowers filled the altars, bundles of flowers stood in the church, and flower vendors crowded the steps in front of the church. Today the children of the area come to the church and bring flowers for their festive occasion.There was lots going on as we finished hearing their pipe organ and boarded our bus.

Tucked on a balcony shelf at the back of the church is a one manual organ that dates from the 18th century. The Grenzing Organ people restored this instrument in 2011 and have done a masterful job with a very old treasure. The cathedral has six huge columns, six feet in diameter that stand 50-60 feet tall. The sound of the organ moves and bounces off the rounded columns and domed ceiling spaces. Tones and melodies play with each other, reflected by the hard surfaces of marble and stone. The color of the music is enriched into a triumph of pipe organ sound, especially when a master organist like Andres Cea of Seville is playing the organ.

Santa Maria Magdalena is probably the smallest cathedral that our group has visited on this tour. It definitely has a big heart, though, as we enjoyed the sights of a festival in the making and the sounds of a well loved pipe organ.

Copyright 2013
Wanda Hayes Eichler

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Madrid Bull

Here's one of my art journal pages from Madrid. Our tour group spent the morning looking at sights around city center Madrid. We went to Madrid's Plaza de Toros Monumental de las Ventas, the bullfighting ring, to take photos and just see what the venue looks like.

My kids always liked the children's book, "Ferdinand the Bull," so I imagined a storybook Ferdinand,  who likes to sit just quietly and smell the flowers, spending some time in the great plaza outside the bull ring. This Ferdinand is adorned with a music staff and treble clef. One flower grows from the pavement in the plaza where he can sit just quietly and smell the flowers, and maybe listen to Michael Barone's Pipedreams program on public radio.

My Madrid bull has wavy, squiggly lines that came from drawing on the bus. He gave me some fun time today in Madrid.

Copyright 2013
Wanda Hayes Eichler

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Organ Twins in Lerma

Skies were cloudy and the air was cold when we arrived in Lerma to view the twin organs at Iglesia de Lerma. The guidebook explained the age of the organs, both built by the same maker, Diego de Quijano, in 1616-1617. I also understood that the instruments occupy a space where they are mounted across from each other in the church.

But I just was not prepared for the impact of seeing and hearing these instruments. Juan de la Rubia, organist and teacher from Barcelona, began playing on the Epistle Organ.

Using the one keyboard (there are no pedals) and playing what seemed to be a fugue, maybe baroque or renaissance, Juan brought the listener through the gentle stops to fuller, more grounded sounds. I was stunned by the sound. Here were tones and nuances flooding ears and brain -- sounds heard in this church since the early 1600's, almost 400 years ago.

Then Juan moved across the church via the U-shaped balcony that connects the two organ lofts and began fuller, deeper harmonies on the second organ, the Gospel organ, with trumpets and a pedal system that echoes the low notes of the keyboard. The organ speaks with a rushing, reedy voice, then with a clear, jubilant tone, and again more hushed, with a low humming sound.

I looked around and tried to imagine the people of Lerma coming to this church centuries ago. There was no radio, no television, no recorded music. No sound of gasoline engines or distant jets. This space with its twin organs was where they came to hear this big, big sound. Michael Barone told me over lunch today that in those days people thought that the organ sound was the voice of God. What a thought!

Ed took this photo of me with Mario D'Amico of the Grenzing Organ Company (left) and Joaquin Lois (right) of Joaquin Lois Organero. Joaquin and his company had the honor of restoring both of these historical instruments in 1994-95. He was able to explain their construction and intricacies for he knows both organs very well. Mario has great knowledge of organs and has been our guide and translator for the tour.

We cross continents and cultures, those of us who love and treasure these fine instruments. Just like the sounds of the Pipedreams radio shows that stream weekly from Michael Barone's studio in St. Paul, or like the twin organs that speak across the nave of Iglesia de Lerma, the organ sounds cross boundaries and bring people together. It is a stunning, satisfying experience. Maybe we, too, are hearing the voice of God.

Copyright 2013
Wanda Hayes Eichler

Monday, May 20, 2013

Burgos Cathedral

The cathedral at Burgos north of Madrid is a huge, rambling church in the center of the old part of the city. A  large open square surrounds one side of the cathedral and provides perspective from which to view the many spires and facades of this complicated building.

The cathedral is home to at least six organs, one of which dates back to 1670 and is located in the Chapel of San Enrique.

The 1607 organ was restored in 1999 by Grenzing Organ Builders of Barcelona. Originally pumped using a mechanical system of levers and ropes, the organ is now powered by a motor and small wind chest. The keyboard, uniquely constructed of bone and ebony, has a checkerboard effect. Juan de la Rubia, organist at Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, skillfully demonstrated the stops on this ancient instrument for us.

It is a magnificent experience, hearing sounds heard from a century and a half after Columbus sailed to America. The restored organ speaks across the centuries. 

The cathedral is filled with paintings, carvings, sculpture, woodwork, marble, ironwork, and many more forms of artwork. I liked the facial features of this cherub and the colors of the feathers painted on the wings. The eyes, cast aside coyly, look at us from another century, just like the pipes of the 1607 organ bring the sounds of a much earlier era alive.

Copyright 2013
Wanda Hayes Eichler

Sunday, May 19, 2013

San Sebastian Sunday

Rainy morning in San Sebastian, near the Basilica de Santa Maria Del Coro,
looking toward the Cathedral

Rose window in Iglesia De San Vicente, San Sebastian
I cropped and adjusted a number of photos from San Sebastian today but, sigh and alas, the wireless connection is much less than fully functional. More to come!

Copyright 2013
Wanda Hayes Eichler

Saturday, May 18, 2013

More From Barcelona

The view of the Barcelona skyline from our hotel room's terrace was, pardon my use of an overused word, awesome. Last night's sky with glints of light from the city proved to be superb. That's Sagrada Familia in the distance behind a domed structure that we never did identify.

Breakfast at Cachitos on Las Ramblas was al fresco and before the first rain of the day hit. I obviously need another cup of coffee, judging from the slack look on my face. My art book is spread out in front of me and my brain is way off somewhere.

Throngs of people crowded the streets in front of the Gaudi designed buildings. I managed to find a good spot to photograph this popular building. Gaudi's inspiration from nature, botany in particular, is apparent in the swirls and curls of the building facade.

We took the high speed train from Barcelona to San Sebastian this afternoon and viewed olive groves from the train through the first half of the trip. At first I thought we were seeing vineyards and then realized from the solid trunks that what we were seeing were olive trees. Lots of them.

We arrived in San Sebastian around 9:30 pm and were greeted at the hotel by several of our Pipedreams friends. How wonderful to have people looking for you and happy to see you. Now, tomorrow, there will be lots of music (we visit four churches) and many conversations. That will be good for my weary soul, a soul that still thinks about my Dad way more often than I ever thought possible.

Copyright 2013
Wanda Hayes Eichler

Friday, May 17, 2013

Barcelona, Day Two

Our Friday adventures in Barcelona took us to Barcelona Sants train station where we spent the better part of midday purchasing two one way tickets to San Sebastian for tomorrow. There was a rather loud labor demonstration going on over the noon hour. One guy was making a statement beyond the labor issue as you can tell from his unconventional clothing.

Our free hotel internet service is limited to 100 megabytes at 128 kb/second. I tend to run over, what with doing the blog and all, so I had hauled my Kindle Fire HD to the train station. Ed snapped this photo of me working on an email to little sis, Martha in Memphis, an email that was a day late for her 39th birthday.

Next we tromped on over to La Sagrada Familia, the Antonini Gaudi designed church that is modernist and organic and totally off the clock by conventional standards. Gaudi used curved lines in his work, as you can see by the undulating walls of this part of the structure. Gaudi's work is unfinished, which means that massive cranes and huge cement transfer devices were cranking away at the site of the church.

Eight of twelve spires are completed. Gaudi began his involvement in the church in 1883 and the work continues to this day. Barcelona is blessed with building after building in the modernist style and we shall have to return to the city again in order to take in the wonder of this magical architecture.

The comfort of a street vendor's flowers brought tears to my eyes late in the afternoon. There were several wonderful specimens of hibiscus, a plant that appeared twice in the funeral flowers for my Dad last week. Their huge, showy blossoms reminded me of another day of great sadness and I bit back the tears again as I thought of Dad's last days of struggle and peaceful going and, then, the moments with family and friends as we said good bye to my father. Tearful, good moments, found here in Barcelona.

Apparently the Aveda footprint covers Barcelona as evidenced by this window sign. Just wanted Peter Eichler and his colleagues at Douglas J to take note of another possible location (ahem!).

And, finally, we salute the couple from Norway who shared a lovely dinner time conversation with us at a tapas restaurant on Las Ramblas this evening. Their friendliness was a light in the day, we learned more about another country, and it was so good to chat comfortably with fellow tourists in a town that knows how to be a tourist town extraordinaire.

I commented to Ed sometime today. "Gee, I wonder if Gaudi ever imagined the long lines of people waiting to get in to the church that he imagined." Really, can any of us imagine the impact that we just might have on some place or some one or some time? We live our lives and never think about where the things we love to do and say might surface some day in the future.

Hats off to Gaudi and Barcelona, a city that knows who it is and loves visitors.

Copyright 2013
Wanda Hayes Eichler

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Barcelona, Finally

One of my Spain guidebooks calls this a view of the neo-gothic temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor, from the summit of Tibidabo, on the north side of Barcelona a dominating view. In less than a day, I would agree.

We arrived in Barcelona mid morning after two flights, both delayed, one from Detroit to Atlanta, and then a second flight on to Barcelona. Cramped in little seats, passengers tend to suffer togther on the long cross Atlantic trips in today's airplanes.

So far we have slept a bit, read maps, had a lovely dinner with a bottle of Tempranillo, wandered Las Ramblas, bought a few art supplies, and taken lots of photos. As I write, I have my eyelids propped up with drawing pencils. No, wait, really, I'm just bone tired and still pretty fragile after the last three weeks with my Dad and my family.

We really enjoyed people watching along Las Ramblas, a main street with eating places galore and shops that sold everything from gelato to shoes to tattoos to marijuana seeds. The city policia were out in full force, probably because there were loads of people on the street.

Tomorrow we'll see La Sagrada Familia, the famous Gaudi cathedral, not far from the hotel and take in some other sights as well. Right now, in the words of my Texas friends, "I'm tarred," so I'm headed off to sleep.

Copyright 2013
Wanda Hayes Eichler

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Dad's Lilac

There was a lilac bush on our back porch when we got home from Wisconsin and my Dad's funeral on Sunday night. Tucked under the tub that held the plant was a plastic bag with a sympathy card inside. Our neighbors, Don and Donna Wheeler, must have known how much Ed and I love lilacs because they chose a lilac as a way to honor the memory of my Dad.

So, we took a quick look around the farm and realized that we already have quite a few lilacs, and ones in differing colors, too, planted at the farm. It was a easy decision to haul the plant to the lake house and find it a home on the north shore, near the ginkgo trees and daffodil clumps. Now when you walk beyond the red bench garden, you come to the ginkgoes and the lilac.

That's my compost pile walk, that walk to the north shore. Maybe I will add some clumps of daylilies and tuck in a few hostas this summer. A stroll to the compost pile, a nightly ritual in the summer, will now pass by Dad's lilac, thanks to the Wheelers.

Copyright 2013
Wanda Hayes Eichler

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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Lilac Morning

There were a few quiet moments this morning to spend with a new sweater design and a cup of coffee. After my mother died in 2007 I spent many quiet hours working on a cable and lace cardigan. In these days and weeks following Dad's death, I will find the same quiet moments for my soul.

This cardi, in purple and looking lovely with the lilacs, will be for my youngest granddaughter. I always love the lilac time of the year. Last year a late freeze took most of the blossoms and the lilacs were sparse.

This year the courtyard lilac at the farm, the one that Lena Henke gave to Ed's Grandma Geiger, is a tumble of blossoms. That's where the bouquet in the photo comes from, Graywood Farm and the oldest lilac on the property.

Copyright 2013
Wanda Hayes Eichler
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Monday, May 13, 2013

Bright Eyed Kid

Grandson Finn's bright eyes were a welcome sight this past weekend. Here he is, sliding on the carpeting in the sanctuary at Covenant Church in Fond du Lac, before his great-grandfather's funeral. His mother was rehearsing some readings along with her siblings and cousins. Finn was enjoying the pew underworld.

It is so good to see kids have fun in what are the tough circumstances of life.

Copyright 2013
Wanda Hayes Eichler

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Down Butternut Road

After yesterday's funeral, a sad but wondrous occasion, our family met at the farm and formed a procession to Ebenezer Cemetery. We drove the few miles up County Y to Butternut Road to Elwood Corners where Ebenezer Evangelical Church stood for many years, to the church cemetery.

Dad's ashes were in the lead vehicle as we made a trip that took things full circle. My Mom and Dad were born in that neighborhood, married at that church, and retired to Mom's home place where they lived well into their eighties and nineties.

After a short committal service and the singing of "For The Beauty of the Earth," we all took turns with the shovel as Dad's ashes were returned to the ground. It was a powerful, poignant moment.

"For the joy of human love, brother, sister, parent, child,
Friends on earth and friends above, for all gentle thoughts and mild.

Lord of all, to thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise."

Copyright 2013
Wanda Hayes Eichler

Saturday, May 11, 2013

One Last Drive With Dad

The view from Hilltop Road south of Fond du Lac looks out to the west, over the rolling hills where my Dad will be buried at sunset today. Just two weeks ago, on a Thursday afternoon, Dad and I took a ride around the neighborhood in my Chevy Volt. We drove up Kelley Road, past Sam and Irene's house. Sam is Dad's cousin. Many, many years ago, my mom and dad were the matchmakers for Sam and Irene, way back in those dating years of the 1940's.

We drove the neighborhood roads that day. Past Dad's home farm, past the new dairy barns where my cousin Howard's son is the sixth generation to milk cows. We looked for the octagon house that Roy Bosserman built in his retirement years. Roy was the pastor who married and baptized some of us kids. I always said that on my wedding day I wanted my Dad to be my Dad, not my pastor, so Roy (I rarely called him Rev. Bosserman) got tapped for clerical duties.

The house that Roy built is on Super Road which leads through the hills of the Kettle Moraine into the European looking village of Ashford. Then we headed back north, past the home farm, again, talking of my cousin Howard and the house on the hill where Mom and Dad lived when they were first married.

Ebenezer Cemetery, at Elwood Corners, is where my Dad's ashes will be buried this evening. My Mother's grave maker is a stone garden bench, engraved with the names of all nine of us -- parents and seven children. We looked for Mom's bench as we drove by, just like we always do.

When we got back to the farm, we drove up the lane. I had been walking up there and knew that the two track lane was firm enough for a drive. I wanted Dad to see some of the back of the farm. He admired the barn as we came south on the lane, back toward the farmstead's buildings. "Look at the barn. It looks good," was the kind of comment that he made that day.

So, today, there will be one more drive for Dad into the countryside around Lomira. And, tonight, a burial. A tough time, a tender time. One last drive with Dad.

Copyright 2013
Wanda Hayes Eichler

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Visitation Centerpiece

My father chose cremation, so tonight, at the visitation before his funeral we arranged a centerpiece that contained elements that reminded us of him. We arranged those items on a table where a casket would have stood so that we had visual reminders of Dad for our family and those who came to greet us.

I accepted the responsibility of planning his funeral and have been guided in the process of selecting special reminders by my wise siblings, a caring funeral director, and my sweet husband, Ed.

Today Ed and I went out to the farm where my mother and dad lived for over 30 years and collected some of Dad's things. There were knitted vests, scarves, socks and a hat that my sisters and my niece had knit for Dad who was always cold. I sent him a cactus pup from Arizona and he enjoyed watching that agave grow. We put it on the table. I cut fresh tulips from the farm and arranged them in a Fostoria glass like my mother used for flowers. There was a copy of Dad's poetry book that he used. His Pastoral Record book which he kept since 1947 was there, as was a record album from the pastor's quartet that he sang in for many years.

All of these items were displayed on a cat quilt that my sister designed and made. Dad loved animals, especially cats and dogs, so the quilt, too, held meaning. As a backdrop to the collection there was a lovely portrait of the family taken in 1994 during the weekend celebration of Mom and Dad's 50th wedding anniversary.

We had lots of things to talk about as we remembered Dad tonight. The centerpiece gave us a starting point for thinking about the life of a remarkable man, my Dad.

Copyright 2013
Wanda Hayes Eichler

Thursday, May 9, 2013


Ed and I spent the afternoon yesterday out at my Mom and Dad's farm. Ed did some laundry and we played with the cats and dog a bit, I sketched the barn again and searched through my Dad's writings for material for a presentation at his funeral this Saturday.

My brother-in-law Patrick likes to fly model airplanes. At the end of his work day he launched one of his gliders and we all watched the plane as Patrick made it soar on thermals high above the alfalfa field.

At one point, there were two hawks, one glider and two commercial jets, all in the same area of the sky. Patrick is really, really good at running the remote for the glider and brought the aircraft in for a slow, smooth landing.

He's the farm flyboy and in this week when the family is getting ready for Dad's funeral, watching a glider and the hawks was fine diversion.

Copyright 2013
Wanda Hayes Eichler

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Lonesome Kitties

My Dad died on Monday and today I finally ventured out to the farmhouse where he and Mom have lived for many years. Mom and Dad both loved animals and kept many pets over the years.

These two house cats, Cali (short for Calico) and Mikey, stayed curled up on the sofa. Someone, probably Dave, Dad's twice a day caregiver, wisely put some of my Dad's shirts out where the kitties could catch Dad's scent.

Cali is usually found on another sofa, in the living room, close to Dad. Mikey's traditional place was on Dad's bed. Now, in their eminent catness, the lonesome kitties draw comfort from Stan's flannel shirts.

Copyright 2013
Wanda Hayes Eichler

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

An Announcement for The Blog

Many of you know that my Dad died on Monday, May 6th. He died very shortly after sunrise, about an hour after I posted "Through A Glass" from the hospital corridor using my smartphone and the Blogger mobile app.

Thank you for your kind comments that have been arrriving via email, the comments section of this blog, and Facebook. It is hard to describe how un-anchored I am feeling right now. I will continue to share some of that with you, dear readers, as I contemplate where this blog might go in the days ahead.

For now, know that there is a huge gap in the universe of this parentless child.


The funeral service for the Reverend Stanley C. F. Hayes will be held on Saturday, May 11 at 2 pm at Covenant United Methodist Church in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. There will be visitation at at the Mach Funeral Chapel, next to the church, from 4-8 pm on Friday, May 10, and also from 1-2 pm before the service at the church.

A sunset burial will take place at Ebenezer Cemetery, Town of Lomira, at 7:30 pm on Saturday evening.

Two Weeks Ago, With Dad

Two weeks can be a long, long time. I spent almost a week with my Dad in mid-April. Here we are after the noon meal two weeks ago. I had pulled the CD player over close to Dad's comfy chair, found some music, and we had an afternoon sing-a-long.

We listened to a recording of the men's quartet that he sang in as a pastor, The Trust Company. Dad remembered most of the words and I knew some of them.

We had a good time identifying voices and seeing if we could remember bits and pieces of the concerts. And this photo of the two of us, well, I put the camera on the kitchen counter and took that image using the self timer on my trusty point-and-shoot pocket camera.

It was a good time together and now, two weeks later, it is a good time to remember.

Copyright 2013
Wanda Hayes Eichler