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July 22, 2022: A Rite of Passage

This morning, Pete’s sister Sara called and told Pete that his mother, Kathleen, had passed away last night. This was right as we were getting up. Pete’s response to me seemed noncommittal – he said that this, for some time, had been expected.

He had gone down and spent time with her in the early Spring. He returned home and said to me that he and his brother Pat and sister Sara agreed that her days were numbered.

Pete's mom and sister at a winery

Grief is odd – it sometimes catches up with you long after an event, then wrings your neck. Maybe this is what’s going on with Pete. Me, I thought some about Kathy and the Praetorius family today, as I first did chores and then went for a ride with Pete and our friend Linda.

We did the annual Fireweed Ride – this year I called it the annual rain or shine fireweed ride. It was raining pretty hard when, finally, we three committed to getting out on the trails. I was wearing rain pants, which kept my legs dry, but a red windbreaker, which did not keep my upper half dry.

The trails were muddy where the ruts were, but green in the center. Raudi led the way, picking her way carefully over the slippery spots. At one point, at the place we call the mud pond, Raudi stopped, and Marley continued past. Very uncharacteristic of Raudi to hesitate – but once we were on the far side, she put her ears back and again took the lead. She is willful, and her best attribute is that she does well out front. We also took the dogs, Linda’s red heeler Murphy, and Ryder and Shadow. They kept close.

All the while I thought about Pete’s mother. She did an amazing job at raising her three children, all of whom are socially adept, intelligent individuals who politically are on the left (correct) side of the fence.

There may have been some genetics involved in this, but at the same time, environment played a key role. Most mothers, Kathy included, don’t get credit for doing a good job raising kids. It’s just a part of the job description.

I remember when I first met her. Pete had taken me home to meet his family. She was there at the airport to greet us. She handed me a corsage. I was not dressed for the occasion. I was wearing jeans and a well-worn down coat. I did not want to pin it on my coat because I didn’t want to put a pinhole in it. So I carried it with me and when we got to Pete’s brother Pat’s place, I put it in a dish of water.

What she did not know was that I was what some fellow graduate students called a “female Pete,” meaning, not one for more feminine attire or accessories.

So, the rain continues to fall – fortunately, such days lend themselves to reflection.

Next: 199. July 23, 2022: Spiral Up

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