Monday, October 17, 2011

Expressing the Long Time Love

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Today’s Blog Post

Expressing the Long Time Love
Yesterday afternoon I heard my Mom call me from her room. She asked me to come into her room. (I was thinking at that moment that it might be another “service call” for the TV or Cable Box.)

When I came into her room she was sitting in her rocking chair and I could see she had been writing quite a lengthy note.

She then said, “I want to read this to you, can you sit down?”

Mom’s hand writing has deteriorated in these past months. The script is very small and almost illegible. But she tries very hard. At 90 years and 9 months old the hand writing is not that good now.

She began to read from her notes… and faltered with her words. Then she said, “Today is our Anniversary. We were married 69 years ago.”

She looked back at her page of notes and continued to struggle with her words, continuing the story for me. Not a written story, but rather a loved story.

“We were so happy to be getting married. Cliff brought his parents with him. His best friend, Lorne Pritchard, came to perform the ceremony” Mom stated.

And here is the rest of the story in my words, after listening to her on her 69th Anniversary.

All of this took place on the family farm near Truax, Saskatchewan, in the old farm house.

Mom and Dad had been seeing each other for a year or so before that special day. From what I gathered my Dad wasn’t what my Grandparents approved of. In fact they made it down right miserable for my Dad as he continued to pursue their Nellie Kirkpatrick. (Many today know her as Marion – her full name is Marion Nellie (Kirkpatrick) Lincoln)

Marrying their oldest daughter and taking her away from the farm was not a good idea in their minds. Their young lady Nellie had looked after her younger siblings from the start of each of their lives. Losing her, placed the burden on the others. The work had been off loaded by my Grandma Emma. Emma at that stage was already moving through her own hot flashes and mood swings that would frighten even the hardiest man alive – let alone the young and lovely daughters that were looking forward to their own family and freedom.

Each time my Dad came to the farm over that previous year they treated him like dirt. That is my interpretation of what happened after listening to so many sides. They had the ability and used it. What a heritage! But my Dad stuck to it and went after what he desired so much – his new bride to be.

Dad had rented a three bedroom apartment in Regina. He had a good job. He had saved enough to go to the Eaton’s store to purchase their new furniture and get the apartment ready for his new bride.

This happened in 1942 with the World War II raging and the entire country of Canada was completely involved. Things were tight to say the least. Being able to rent the apartment and purchase the new bed and other pieces of needed furniture was no small thing. Doing all of the travel to and from the farm, 60 miles south of Regina, with the gasoline being rationed, was no small feat either!

At the time of the wedding my Dad had been living in a “Rooming House” with about 17 other guys. There had been only one bathroom between all the guys – so time to sit or get cleaned up was very little. Dad apologized to Mom when they were married for his lack of being completely clean. His feet and particularly his heals were black. There were too many guys living in the house to allow him anytime to scrub off the black.

On October 16, 1942 Rev. Lorne Pritchard arrived with his mother and sister in tow. His sister Elsie had brought along her portable pump organ which she played for the family.

Lorne was a very young and just recently been Ordained as a Minister. My Dad had pressured him to get his Ordination so he could perform Dad’s wedding. This wedding was to be his very first as a young preacher. Mom told me Lorne’s hands were shaking as he held his notes.

Elsie struck up the musical piece, “Here comes the Bride” and my Grandfather Charlie Kirkpatrick walked my Mom out of the one bedroom to the front room.

This was to be his second wedding he attended for his children… but it was his first daughter that he would give away. I can only imagine the feelings that he was experiencing at that moment. Here he was losing a daughter to a guy that his wife didn’t like and had treated with almost complete contempt… and yet he was getting his first son-in-law that was not even a farmer… nor had he any land of his own… and hadn’t even a house built yet!

That little farm house was filled with tension. No wonder Rev. Lorne’s hands shook.

To top it off, Charlie and Emma’s second son, Dale, had been married a year earlier to a local farm girl. Dale was in the Canadian army and was living in Victoria B.C. at that time. He was not granted any leave to be home for his sister’s wedding. There was a sadness about him and his new wife not being there added to all these events.

Rev. Lorne Pritchard said all the correct words. The Pump organ played well, and then following all that the family joined in a celebration of sorts around a large turkey dinner and a wedding cake. The young couple was sent off in their Model A Ford car to begin their new life together.

My aunt Peg had stood up with her sister as her Bride’s Maid. I can only imagine the loneliness that Peg and the other children felt that day as the Model A Ford took their special sister and friend away from the farm.

Each of the family returned to the tasks of farming and making a go of it… while their Nellie was gone with this Clifford Leslie Lincoln and the new apartment! At the table each time they ate there was now two places empty… where Nellie used to sit and where Dale used to sit as well. War was terrible but weddings were just as bad!

Mom’s scribbled notes stated something profound for me…
“…lots of gifts… all ready to go… we had a great life ahead… we were so happy… loved Regina… good job… new furniture… and each other…”

Dad died in 1987 – 45 years after that special day. Mom has lived with all these memories for past 24 years. And yesterday, 69 years after that very special day, Mom needed to tell me some of the story over again.

We celebrated yesterday by eating out at “Hot Belly Mama’s” a New Orleans styled restaurant. Along with us was a new friend that had not long ago had her love destroyed by silly actions on the part of her spouse… a long story that is too complicated to tell… he is jail now.

Mom misses Dad I know. I have tried to provide for her in the best way possible since her move to Ontario. At times I wish I could do more to make her last years more pleasant and easier to live out. The best I can do is listen… and then write it down…

Where her penmanship is faltering… mine has to be better.

Today I remember my Dad again. There are way too many parallels with my own life and his. He gave me much of what I would become and am today.

Oh boy… I have a big lump in my throat… I need to go for a long walk!

~ Murray Lincoln ~

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