Friday, July 29, 2011

Me (Rose), at the top of Cathedral Rock in Sedona after a strenuous hike of 1.5 miles with 700 ft. elevation gain. This is the site of a vortex, one of those places of intense energy Sedona is famous for. I sent Chris a "vortext" from this spot.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sandi and Maudie and Maudie's sister, Vivian, went to Springfield and visited with Joe and Mary. Lisa came over and joined them for the visit. They also went by our old house on Latoka which Sandi had never seen. She loved the place and brought me pictures. It's For Sale and maybe in foreclosure.

They probably crossed paths with Leslie, Sam, and Judy. Judy and Sam caught a lot of fish while they were here - crappie and catfish. He cleaned two big batches. Leslie and I didn't participate in the fishing but it was almost competition between mother and son.

I talked to Sandi this morning at Margaret's. She and Maudie had stopped by here on the way back to St. Peters on Monday. Ding and Brayden and Jalen stayed to see them for a little while. Goldman fixed us a great lunch. Lynn arrived at Margaret's while we were talking. Sandi said Margaret seems to doing fine.

Rose and Shirley were going to the Grand Canyon today. Shirley has never been there. Rose did one hour hiking in the mountains yesterday and swore she's so sore she won't do that again today.

Anna had a procedure done yesterday that will hopefully relieve her from the horrible migraines she suffers from stemming an accident she had several years ago. We're praying for you, Anna.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

I accidentally got the caps unlocked - don't know for sure how I did it. Brother Pete left on Sunday. Brother Joe left Friday after the service. Tammy and Cyndi left earlier this week but Maudie and Sandi headed to Conway to visit some of their relatives down there while they're here in Missouri. I've talked to Margaret about every day this week and she continues to be surrounded by friends and relatives. Sally and Larry were there yesterday when I called and, from the noise in the background, probably others. She seems to be holding up very well.

Leslie and Sam [the King boy] and Sam's mother are coming today. Sam loves to fish so we probably get to see much of him. Leslie has lasagna already made for our dinner. They have to leave tomorrow - too short of a visit.

Goldman has my breakfast almost ready - store bought eggs boiled on the stove. I have more updating but will pause for now and eat.
This will probably take me a while since I haven't updated for a while. I told Rose my only complaint about the pictures is that there's none of her. My new phone has a camera but I don't know how to use it or to post pictures. She promised to put one of her on here. I heard on the local news last night that it's so ht here in Missouri that the chickens are laying boiled eggs. Mark Lary and Karen, you're the only people I know who raise chickens. Are they laying boiled eggs?

Goldman and I had to leave soon after the funeral on Friday so I missed the two dinners and the remembrances of Norm as the evenings passed. Chris and Shelly hosted on Saturday night and I've heard did an excellent job. The Kansas attendees had to leave on Sunday and didn't have time to stop by here at the lake. Rose and Pete 'roared' out to the Saturday night dinner in Goldman's Acura. Goldman and I have her car _CAPS LOCKED_ NOT DONE YET - (DUBBED THE "COMPANY CAR" BY PETE} STILL LOCKED> IMAY HAVE TO MAKE GOLDMAN GET OUT OF BED>

Sunday, July 17, 2011

July 15, 2011

Margaret and the Abbott offspring, Stephanie, Sabrina, Randy, Catrina, and Aunt Sue contributed to this eulogy which I wrote and delivered at Norman's Service:

I am Margaret’s sister Rose, sister-in-law to Norman, Aunt Rose to some of you. On behalf of the Abbott Family, I want to thank all of you for coming, some of you from great distances. If you are from out of town, would you please raise your hand?

We are here to mourn because we have suffered a huge loss. The loss is especially terrible for Margaret and the Abbott offspring, Stephanie, Sabrina, Randy, and Catrina, and for the Abbott grandchildren and great grandchildren who loved their Pepa. His death is a huge loss for nephews Mark, Scott and Chris for whom he served as father after they lost theirs at a tender age
We are also here to celebrate, to celebrate a man who lived a truly exemplary life. In many ways Norman Abbott wrote his own eulogy by living so full and so well. What I would like to do is describe some of the ways he lived, the strong relationships he enjoyed, and the faithfulness with which he met his responsibilities as citizen, soldier, father, husband, worker.

In addition to all his life roles, Norman was also an avid gardener, musician, camper, and reader. He always had his hobbies--leather working, wine-making, an old WW II Jeep, Volkswagen Beetles. He had a special room (his kids call it his La-BOR-atory) where he pursued his hobbies and fixed things. He could and did fix anything. If it was electronic, the repair gave him added delight. One time when Randy was small, he had a balloon that burst. Crying, he took it to his mother who told him it could not be fixed. Randy told her, “Well, I’ll just wait until Dad gets home.”

And, further icing on the Abbott cake, he was an excellent dancer and could be extraordinarily charming. Just ask any of his nurses at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Peters where he spent his last three weeks. Whatever Norman undertook, he gave his fine intellect, his many skills, and his total dedication to it. He was interested in everything, and he was interesting. And he was a complex personality.

When Margaret first brought Norman home to meet the family, I thought he was the most handsome and dashing men I had ever seen. If any of you have looked at the photo of young Norman Abbott in his Air Force uniform popping up now on several Facebook pages, and included here, you know what I mean. At age 83 Norman was still a very handsome man, still the same size he was at age 25.

Over almost six decades, Norman proved to be a whole lot more than a pretty face. For the first 20+ years of their marriage, Margaret and Norman and their growing family were almost always on the move because he was in the service. They lived in Germany, Turkey, upstate New York, Idaho, Mississippi, Oklahoma and probably other places I no longer recall. After they retired from the service and built their home in St. Peters 41 years ago, Margaret and Norman never moved again. And all four of their kids live nearby.

If you have ever spent any time in the Abbott household, you know about the music and the laughter. A hootenany at the Abbot home is A Happening. For those of you who don’t know our Hillbilly language, a “hootenany” is a musical festival. Watching Norman accompany Stephanie on his guitar as she belted out “Me and Bobby McGee” is something I will never forget. Just imagine Janis Joplin cranking it up a notch or two.

Never much for television, the family was into conversation, sharing, those dreaded chores, and games--Pictionary, Trivial Pursuit, Monopoly, Cards, whatever. No one could beat Norman at Pictionary. No one.

Even this past Tuesday evening in the depths of their grief, family members were telling stories and laughing raucously. They are a funny, funny bunch. Sabrina’s imitation of her mom and dad the first time they went into a Taco Bell: Norman--”Do you have any buttermilk? What! No buttermilk?!” Margaret sitting down, unwrapping her burrito, saying, “Well, look at that. They wrapped the thing in a paper towel.”

If you can picture a Jim Carey who has found Jesus, you know Randy. Randy was a little older and quite an influence on Scott and Chris, his cousins. The boys’ mother once reminded the comic-Randy-turned-minister that sometimes his early influence had run counter to her own. Randy told her, “Don’t worry, Aunt Sue. If I led ‘em astray, I can lead ‘em back.”

Catrina said one time when she was really young she and her Dad were home alone, the rest of the family away for reasons she no longer remembered. He taught her how to make tiny champaign glasses out of paper. And Dad cooked--something not in his usual job description. Catrina saw him do something he would never have done had Mom been home; he picked up the green bean pan and drank juice from it. Seeing her amazed expression, he said, “Best nourishment is in the green bean juice. Would you like some?” She held up her tiny paper glass, and the two of them drank green bean juice from tiny paper champaign glasses.

Stephanie told of her Dad urging her to stop smoking when she was a young woman going out into the world. Driving by the commuter parking lot one day, she saw him smoking a cigarette as he waited for his ride. Later at home she lighted up. Her Dad said, “So, when did you take up that nasty habit again?” Stephanie defiantly told him, “Today, after I saw you standing in the commuter lot with a cigarette in your mouth!” Norman never smoked again.

Norman had that wonderful ability to learn and grow, to take feedback from others (as that last story illustrates), to consider it carefully, and to change if it made sense to him or if he saw a better way. Growing up in the south, he had learned prejudice. A traveled man of the world, he changed his attitudes. It is fitting that a black man, Reverand Purdy, is officiating at this service. Life and suffering also played a part. The problems and early death of their first grandchild utterly transformed Norman. Over the decades I knew him I was astounded at his many transformations. Yet, the basic honesty, goodness, and trustworthiness of the man were invariant.

Margaret and Norman were never religious in any traditional sense of the word. Their God has always been up close and personal, felt in the impulses that arose within them, evident in the intense love they shared with each other, with their family, and with all of us fortunate enough to be in their circle. Theirs is not a God they worshipped on Sunday. Their God is a living presence that found expression in and through them--not so much in words but in what they did and how they did it everyday in the simplest acts. Truly, their God is Love. Some say we are not human beings seeking spiritual expression; we are spiritual beings seeking human expression. If so, Norman and Margaret are powerful role model for the rest of us.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

This is a difficult entry to make to the blog. There were lots of people at the wake on Thursday evening. Goldman and I had picked Pete up at the airport and after we took Goldman back to his car went straight to the funeral home in O'Fallon where Norman was laid out. Rose and Shirley came later. When Pete and I got arrived, there was already lots of people there. Friends, neighbors and family continued to come and go the whole evening. Quite a tribute to Norm, deservedly so.

Joe and Pete went home with Rose Shirley and me. Maudie Ree and Debby, Joe, and Kathy spent the night with Margaret. Tammy and Cyndi went to Chris and Shelly's overnight. Margaret is having a tough tough time. She had spent all night Monday with Norm and I'm not sure she's even had a chance to catch a nap or have a good night's rest this week. Chris and Shelly are having the remaining visitors for a big dinner tonight (Saturday). Pete has to go back to Idaho tomorrow.

The funeral service yesterday morning again gave tribute to a wonderful person. Reverend Purdy, a friend of Randy, welcomed everyone and spoke a few words about what a great man Norman was. Catrina played a song, "Yellow Bird," a favorite of Normans's, on the piano and Stephanie's son Jacob read the Twenty-Third Psalm and gave a heartfelt tribute to his grandfather. Next Rose delivered the an emotional eulogy in which she recollected meeting Norman for the first time and all about his devotion to his family. Reverend Purdy said that Rose stole some of his thunder from his sermon with her eulogy. After the sermon Chris told a story about Norman taking him to wrestling matches for his eleventh birthday and about an old photo he had found of Norman and his father and his Uncle Jack.

People came from all over the country. - Oregon, Idaho, Washington, Kansas, North Carolina and probably other places I either forgot to mention or didn't know about. The Abbott offspring are helpful to Margaret while dealing with their own loss. A difficult time for all.

Last night (Friday) there was a dinner with some music that was the kind of music Norm enjoyed most. Again a tribute to a Norm.

I didn't list the out of towners because I was afraid I'd leave someone out. I'll do that on a later post when I can talk with Margaret. I'm hoping some or all can come down to the lakehouse before returning back to their homes.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Catrina has provided us information about Norman's funeral service:

Visitation Thursday from 4:00 to 9:00 pm at Baue Funeral Home on Wood Street in O'Fallon, MO.
Service Friday at 10:0 am, also at the Baue Funeral Home.

His body will be buried Monday at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery at 11:30 am.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Norman V. Abbott died this afternoon at 3:48 pm CDT. Norman was the husband of Margaret, father of Stephanie, Sabrina, Randy, and Catrina, and grandfather.
Catrina just sent me this text:

"They are taking dad to CT now. Drs were all just in. Say he is worse than yesterday because he is on so much support for his blood pressure and to keep it from bottoming out. They are also concerned because his triponin (sp?) level was high so that could mean heart damage. Eyes are barely responsive and not much reflexes." [9:01 am CDT]

Monday, July 11, 2011

Shirley and I just returned from Barnes-Jewish Hospital West where all the Abbott Clan plus are gathered. The news about Norman is not good. He suffered a massive stroke this morning. There were plans in place twice to airlift him to Barnes-Jewish Hospital downtown for surgery to remove the clot in his brain. However, twice he suffered cardiac arrest. The six-hour window in which treatment of the stroke would have been possible is now closed. He is on life support, is heavily sedated, possibly unconscious from the stroke, and is in intensive care. The physicians are telling the family it will be 24 to 48 hours before they can adequately assess his condition.
Right before Norman was to be released from the hospital this morning, he suffered a stroke. Right now he is still at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Peters and is intensive care. I'll update about his condition when I return from the hospital.
This will be a short post but wanted to let everyone know that Norm does get to come home today. I was talking to Margaret on IM and she gave me the news abruptly and signed off. I'm sure he will regain some of his weight and strength with Margaret Ann's home cooking. I'll update more later.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

I've got lots to write about but first wanted to update about Norman. He will probably come home tomorrow. He started him on whole foods yesterday after a good while on a liquid diet. Margaret said he was very hungry and is down to 149 lbs. I talked to Margaret just now and Sabrina and Norm were walking the halls. The doctors are concentrating on rebuilding his strength before they decide - or can - do further treatment.

More as I hear it. Suzanne is going to identify the girls in the picture either in comments or email. I'll tell more about girls' weekend later and will keep info about Norm as I get it.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

As usual, I'm the first one up. Already talked to Rose. She had gone to see Norm yesterday and he wasn't having a good day. Most of the Abbott clan was there when she got there. I'm sure she'll update when she hears how his night went. Keep praying.

Last week one day Goldman and I went out to run some errands. I forgot my cell phone which I never do. When we got back, there was a car with New Jersey plates in the driveway. It was CHASE, Leslie's son, our neighbor in Springfield. He spent the night and left soon after breakfast. He's a professional photographer and is hoping to spend most of July in Springfield. He said he will dog sit so Sam and Leslie can come up. Sam loves to fish. Chase plans to come up again too.

I loved the Fourth of July crowd. As Goldman already said, the display was spectacular. I had the carpets cleaned last week and the man who cleaned them asked if this is the house that has the big show on the Fourth. He lives across the cove and said they always watch.

I'll write more later.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Mark Goldman, writer in residence at the lake this summer, sent this fine account of the July 4th weekend at the Lake:

The Fourth of July is always a big event at the lake house and this year we had a bigger crowd than we have had for several years. Doug and Suz along with Lukas and Josie were the first to arrive Friday afternoon to join Mom, Maddog and me. Groves followed soon after and we ate a delicious dinner of brisket and fried potatoes. Scott, Jalen, and Brayden arrived after ten and Beth pulled into town after midnight and we spent our first night of the weekend staying up way too late reminiscing about past Fourth of July weekends

Saturday morning Scott made one of his excellent breakfasts and early in the afternoon Dane Slayton, his girlfriend Deanna and his children Kale and Bailey arrived and they were soon followed by Mike and Stacy Derrington and their kids Bryton and Riley. Mike, who is in the Army, will be heading overseas to Iraq soon and this weekend will be one of his last hurrahs before his tour begins. The kids all enjoyed the lake and the swimming pool and two year old Bailey made quite an impression on all of us as she served “tea” from her little swimming pool and talked with the adults. Groves, who does not sleep during the night at the lake, joined the rest of us in the late afternoon following his nap. Groves is also known as Fabio or the vampire because of his long hair and odd sleeping habits.

Saturday night we had a great meal of BBQ ribs and pork steaks with Suz’s cheesy potatoes. We spent the rest of the night sitting around the table laughing and telling stories. By three in the morning all of us except Groves went to bed.
On Sunday Groves was still awake as usual when mom made her way downstairs at six in the morning and surprisingly he stayed awake until the rest of us awoke several hours later. Early in the afternoon Doug, Derrington, Maddog, Scott and I headed out on our annual pilgrimage to the fireworks stand. The Fourth is Doug’s favorite holiday and he is in charge of putting together our annual way over the top firework display. The people at the firework stand have gotten to know us over the years and needless to say they were very happy to see us. After an hour and a half of shopping and cramming every free inch in Scott and Derrington’s cars with fireworks we headed back to the house for a feast of fried crappie, onion rings, and Maddog’s famous homemade potato skins. Groves surprisingly still had not been to sleep and he and next door neighbor Skip made a ten dollar bet over who would be the first to fall asleep that day or night.

We shot off daytime fireworks while we impatiently waited for dark. Derrington took a blast from one of the fireworks in the eye but after a trip to Walgreens he was able to bounce back. The minor eye injury did hinder his ability to talk and like usual he shared his many opinions. Eric Nichols and family arrived just before dark with a boat load of visitors to see the firework show. Once darkness hit we shot off firework after firework as we attempted to beat an approaching storm. The short rain shower caused us to take a break for about an hour as the crowd scattered to take shelter. The rain stopped and we were able to finish the show.

After the display Eric’s group crowded on his boat and took off and we went about the task of burning the used boxes from the fireworks. It has become a stupid and dangerous tradition to throw fire crackers and bottle rocket into the fire and this year was no different. Groves finally went to sleep around midnight after 36 hours awake ten dollars richer since Skip was tucked in his bed an hour or so earlier. Skip sorely underestimated Grove’s ability to defy logic when it comes sleep deprivation. The last of us ended our day around three in the morning once again. I thought we were too old for staying up until all hours but I guess not.

Early Monday morning Dane’s crew left. They were followed out of town by Scott, Beth, and Groves. Doug took most everyone else on a long boat ride and then the rest of the afternoon was spent riding the spinning three seater tube that is referred to as the red thing. Maddog after much coaxing by Stacy took his first ride on a tube in twenty years and he survived to brag about it. Everyone had a lot of fun riding and there were lots of sore muscles and great stories afterwards.
There was talk of Monday night being an early night but several us were still up making toasts and celebrating the fourth and Derrington’s birthday at three in the morning. After we all finally went to bed Doug, Maddog and I laughed like little girls at a slumber party for another hour in our bedroom which doubled as the living room during the day.

Sadly the long weekend came to an end on Tuesday as the Hollensbes and Derringtons headed home. Jalen and Brayden are spending the rest of the week here with Mom, Maddog and me, and I will be taking them back to St. Louis Friday

Monday, July 04, 2011

Margaret sent an update about Norman to Sue and me last night:

Sabrina and I just got home from the hospital. It's 9:45 Sunday evening and the fireworks are really being fired off around here as there is no ban against them in this section of the county YET.

The patient, Mr. Abbott, was almost back to himself this evening. He was watching UNDERCOVER BOSS and stayed awake for the complete program. He is still very weak. Tonight he ate all his dinner and said he could have eaten his plate too. He has not eaten much since being there, now two weeks.

We are taking it one day at a time. He seems to be doing really well with his surgery, and right now it is the least of our worries. He has had a unit of blood and doesn't expect to need more. I told him just look at it as a pay-back for all the blood he gave when he was a military man. With his name starting with A, the medics were after him like a bunch of vampires. Nothing will be done about the cancer until his other problems are taken care of.

After being through all this, I have decided it is easier to be the one in the hospital bed. I think I will go to bed now. It has been a long day, and I am sure tomorrow will not be any shorter.

I love you sisters and will be talking to you tomorrow. Marg

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Sabrina sent this prayer request to some friends. I am posting it here with a request for prayers from as many as possible:


Some of you might know that might Dad was diagnosed last week with colon cancer. He had a portion of his colon removed last Friday afternoon. Since the surgery he has become very weak and has developed pneumonia. Yesterday (June 29) his blood hemoglobin counts were very low so he had to have a blood transfusion. We also got the pathology reports back yesterday and they showed that his cancer is in stage 3, which means it is in his lymph nodes. The doctors can’t begin any treatment until he regains some of his strength. Most of you have met my dad and you know how very special he is to anyone whose life he has touched, and especially to his family. I just ask for everyone to storm the heavens with prayers and ask the Lord to get my dad on the road to recovery.

Thanks for your prayers and for being my friend.