Memories of Wendell

Two years ago today Daddy left his earthly home to his heavenly home. Although his leaving brought sadness to us, I am very sure it brought peace, rest and joy to him. I did not expect to be in the great northwest on the two year anniversary of his death, but a last minute decision to escape here for 10 days found us here. Therefore, I have thought a lot about him yesterday and today as I have walked among the trees and along the shores in one of the states he loved. Daddy loved the outdoors. But to be specific, he loved Washington and Oregon. I am thankful to have been able to enjoy the sights, smells, and quietness of the Oregon scenic byways as I know Daddy always did. I’m thankful for the memories and I’ll always love and miss my Dad!

Linda Pound

3 thoughts on “Memories of Wendell

  1. Memories of my Daddy
    One year ago today, my daddy went Home to be with his Savior. Although his leaving us caused us much sadness and grief, I know he longed to be relieved of the heavy burden his illness and had brought him and he is rejoicing in his newfound peace and freedom. Over the last year, so many memories have popped into my mind at such random and unusual occasions and brought with them tears and often an aching in my heart. Yet, even though I miss him, the memories I have of my Daddy bring peace to my heart because Daddy was such a kind, generous and loving person and loved us all so very much.
    Daddy was a family man; he loved his family. I never doubted that he loved Mother, nor us. His love spilled over to Mother’s family and he loved Mama Hill, he loved her sisters, and he loved his brother-in-laws. I have so many early, fond memories being with my daddy and the men at Hill gatherings. The excitement of watermelon feasts as I watched the process of gathering just the right melons, chilling them down in ice or choosing the right ones from the big tubs of melons floating in the icy water, the slicing and then partaking of the delicious, salty slices of fresh, chilled goodness is a memory deeply embedded in my mind. How is it that I can’t seem to find watermelons that taste as good as those did? Is it because there was so much more involved in the melon eating: anticipation, excitement, actual conversation where I learned so much about the past as the men shared stories and memories and the whole excitement as the ‘clan’ came together to enjoy this simple pleasure.
    Ah, and the ice cream making events! Playing with cousins in the gathering dusk after a day of hot, sweaty outdoor play was a common event at summer family gatherings. I always stayed close enough to Daddy and the men who were involved in the work of the ice cream ‘factory’ in case I might be chosen for the great honor of sitting on top of the crank to hold it down while the men took their turns at the difficult job of cranking the freezers. I did not know until I was grown that my thrill in the place of honor actually caused more work for the men because I was one of the smaller, thus less weight, at that time. Daddy always made me feel that I was of equal importance in the sitting process. 
    Daddy taught me to shoot a gun at outings with the Hill uncles and their sons. We never owned a pickup, so it was quite an exciting time to load up in a pickup with Daddy and my uncles and cousins to go squirrel or rabbit hunting. I’m not sure I actually ever shot an animal myself, but Daddy always made me feel like I was a great marksman anyway.
    Daddy was an adventurer and he loved the outdoors. He was always finding new things and new places and making them come alive with exciting facts and adventurous tales. He was a living nature guide; finding birds nest and lifting me up to peer into them to see the baby birds, bringing home oriole’s nests, tracking animal’s trails, identifying trees by their bark, leaves or shapes, so many facts that he shared that were just a part of his nature. Many miles I have trekked by his side as he shared his knowledge, his faith, and his life with me and later with my children. He loved sharing with others his life, what he knew, what he experienced and what he loved, a quality I greatly appreciate. His desire to share his life was what drove him to willing give many hours to help us build our house here in Oklahoma. He often drove up from Lake Texoma to work with Jack and the kids. As we look back now, we feel that already the Parkinson’s disease was at work, undetected by any of us at the time. There were several incidents of weakness or clumsiness that were so unlike him and seemed so frustrating to him at the time that we later realize were probably the early stages of the Parkinson’s.
    He was athletic and active. As a young child, I remember attending church soft ball games and watching Daddy play on the church team. He taught me to play ball, to run fast, to climb trees, to mow the lawn, clean the cars, and he tried to teach me to swim.  That one was a challenge for him as I somewhat inherited my mother’s fear of water. He later shared his love of adventure with my children as we hiked and biked all over the Central Oregon and the great Northwest. Many wonderful memories were made there with both Daddy and Mother when they were well into their 50’s, as we biked many miles up and down hills with the kids. Many trips driving into the Cascade Mountains and hiking around lakes, catching tadpoles and tiny baby frogs, and tiptoeing across lava rock beds. Many special treasures to hold and thrill our hearts still.
    He was a people person; He loved being around people. Daddy was always striking up a conversation with strangers who didn’t seem like they were strangers for long. He had a way of ‘reading’ people and could quickly make friends with the gas station attendant, the ice man, or the clerk. I loved going places with him, doing errands or just hanging out. He always had an interesting experience or story to share and came away with some new stories as well. As well as loving people, he was grateful for them which is one of the things that caused people to love and enjoy him. Small services or acts of kindness were genuinely appreciated.
    He loved being with his grandchildren. Being a part of family activities was always a highlight. Even when it was difficult to be out and about, he enjoyed being with his family. He was always grateful for the times together and for the help he was receiving from each one when he could no longer do things for himself. His genuine, “Thank you, Honey” for some small, seemingly insignificant deed casually done, still rings in my ears.
    Daddy was also a man of faith in God. It was his faith that kept him during the last difficult years of his life. Parkinson’s is a difficult disease, esp. for an active person. It was difficult to watch Daddy continue to weaken with the disease. But it was his faith in God that conquered in the difficulties.
    The story of my Daddy as a man of faith is not complete without mentioning the woman of faith that stood faithfully at his side to the end. Mother, I thank you for your faithfulness to Daddy when life was at its worse! It was not an easy task to watch Daddy daily deteriorate and to deal with his pain, his fears and trials; I appreciate you and admire you for it.
    The last two months of Daddy’s life were extremely difficult. I am so extremely grateful for Sherrie, my sister, along with Mother who faithfully cared for and loved on Daddy during those difficult hours. I know he was supposed to be there in Washington with you during those last weeks of his life and I thank you, Sherrie.

  2. “Can you see them?” he asked. “Aren’t they beautiful?” “Be sure not to touch them, or their mama won’t come back to keep them warm.” It was a beautiful spring day in Central Oregon, the pungent aroma of juniper was thick in the air, and my grandpa was showing me a nest of robin eggs. Although the delicate blue hue of the eggs was lovely, the memory I treasure is discovering them with my grandpa. We discovered lots of things like that together, and it is a memory I share not just with my brothers and sisters, but also with his daughters, my mom and aunt.
    One year ago today, we learned that he was gone. Sometime that day through my tears of loss, I realized he was making new discoveries now, in his new home with our Creator. And today, although tears have already spilled over, I am thinking, not of how he was at the end of his life, but of the many years of joy we shared together. Those are the memories I’ll always cherish.
    When I was young, I always enjoyed visiting Grandma and Grandpa at their home in Brush Prairie. I remember the thrill of staying there all by myself for the first time. The woods behind their house beckoned adventurous young souls, and my brother and I spent many hours there. There were always paths through the woods, because grandpa frequently explored the woods himself. He always knew where the best berry patches were, and pointed out the designs of moss or the delicate blooms hidden in the moist, shady spots in the woods. He was always encouraging us to pick enough berries for Grandma to make a pie, and I’ll never forget the particular way he said the word “pie.” It was grandpa who provided the salt for my first (and only) salt and slug experiment, and who encouraged my dream of trapping a rabbit when they were working at the Air Center in Oregon. I actually don’t remember if I ever caught one, the thrill of the plastic crate, a carrot, a stick and a piece of string to create a clever trap was enough for me.
    When I learned to cook, grandpa was one of my biggest fans. He always thought my fresh homemade rolls were the best things ever, a tradition he kept up when my younger sister, Melinda, took over the bread making and perfected the art of whole wheat rolls. In more recent years when I was gone to Belize, my family’s Thanksgiving menu changed some, and bread dressing was eliminated. Its presence was sorely missed by three people especially: my dad, my grandpa and me (although I did always have to “burn” it for my grandpa…he would keep after me until it was just the right level of crispiness).
    Sometime as a teen, I went on a trip to California with Grandpa and Grandma to visit his aunt Clara. I’ll never forget my amazement as we drove through the orange orchards and the beautiful perfume of the blossoms filled the car, even with the windows rolled up. It was love at first sniff! Grandpa noticed my enthrallment, and every night we were there, brought a fresh branch of orange blossoms and set them by my bed. And every time I catch a whiff of orange blossom blooms dancing through the air in Belize, I smile and think of my grandpa. Just so you know, if I get married someday, if it is at all possible, there will be orange blossoms in my bouquet in honor of my grandpa.
    As I did my daily Bible reading the morning that my grandpa died, the first verse for the day was found in Ecclesiastes: “A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever.” When I said goodbye to my grandpa when I left for Belize last January, he struggled to say goodbye, because he told me he wouldn’t see me again. I didn’t believe it then, but he somehow knew, and last June, part of that generation left us. But, I am thankful that goodbye is not forever. I have been blessed to have a family of faith, and my grandfather loved the Lord. And although I can no longer make new memories with my grandpa here, I have the hope of making discoveries together in heaven with him, memories that will last for eternity.

  3. On this 2 year anniversary of my grandpa’s death, I was thinking about what memories I miss most. My grandpa was someone a person could easily talk to, and I loved to tell him about all our adventures while traveling and having him listen and add input from his vast knowledge. Every time I go on a trip, I am sad that I can’t come back and share what I learned and discovered with him. He was a good friend, not just a grandfather. I loved making cookies and goodies, because he always loved everything I made. I miss the sparkle in his eyes over my caramel popcorn or cookies. I’m grateful for the 24 years I was able to spend with him and I’ll always, always miss him.

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