Anne's Final Days

The tragic or traumatic happenings in our married life were not always somber, as often amusing, even hilarious details soften the edges.

An example - when our house burned down in 1977 which definitely was a trauma and nothing to laugh about, something funny happened.

Here I was standing all by my lonely self watching the blackened ruin of what once was our family home after the six firetrucks and men were gone and my two children as well, an elderly neighbor lady, original from eastern Europe, came slowly walking down our driveway with a plate of greens.

Touched by her gesture I walked toward her ready to graciously accept the salad and had it on the tongue to say 'you shouldn't have done that' when I got a stern look of 'who do you think you are' and she said “Not for you, for rabbit.”

I hoped to have a story ready about the end of Anne's life, having its tenth anniversary on the second of April, because I was the only one present then.

I had difficulty writing what happened down, not because I had forgotten, but when I read the first draft (and the second, and the third,) the events looked cold, unnatural, and abrupt to me, and that was not the impression I wanted to give.

Did we ever talk about a life after death?

What I remember that we were not thinking much in that line because our belief in God was deeper than to think what would happen to us, but more in line of 'what God has in mind is done well' and therefore we fit our futures into His hands.

One time a pastor visited Anne intending to read the 23rd psalm to her which begins with -

'The Lord is my shepherd, I have no want,' a most beautiful and comforting sentence out of the bible and when he was going to read the whole passage Anne stopped him.

“What is wrong Anne,” the pastor asked. Anne repeated the passage

“The Lord is my shepherd, I have no want. That is enough.”

Anne was nuchter, the closest an English word comes to that is matter-of-fact, practical, simple. Some might characterize her answer to the minister as blunt, which was not intended at all, hers was a no frills, no piously holier-than-thou testimony.

We did not struggled with our faith in God, but did with the faiths as proclaimed by practical all denominations known to us. One would tell us to baptize babies, the other just not as babies, some had issues with drinking coffee, others with liquor. Still others dressed in a special way, which as we were concerned were all fine, but were all used to make divisions between what were supposed to be brothers and sisters.

We found good people in all the different church and temple societies and came to the conclusion that they had the same thing in common – they all figured to be right, and all the others were wrong. We had a struggle as how to bring up our children, in how far to go along with the way in which we ourselves were brought up, than also with common sense as a viable way, and more than once got confused about everything.

In my quest to evade breakdown, especially the last months I took every morning a few hours off by going for breakfast at Tim Hortons.

Before finding my customary booth there I bought a newspaper from a gas- station attendant, an upbeat young woman with a a ready smile with whom I usually had a nice chat.

One time I heard that she was lesbian, which was interesting because I had to my knowledge never met a lesbian before.

I was wanting to talk to her about that to get an idea what had taken her to become 'that way', however I didn't get the chance because her contract with the gas company was expired and she had found employment somewhere else.

Initially my ideas about lesbian women were quite negative, but than I thought what gave me the right to judge her anyways on the strength of what was in fact a slander, which added to my opinion that I should never judge anyone. I went as far as to find out where she worked to tell her - what? That I would not judge her? I never saw her again. But I did miss her.

One time on my way home on a rainy morning I got stopped by a male cop while speeding.

Well, this has become a strange story anyways, I might as well add this experience to it.

I had stayed longer at Tim Hortons than I should have and anxious to go home to Anne, I sped, the road was going downward as many roads in Abbotsford do since our city is quite hilly, and the old van had no trouble to go from the speed limit of 50km to 80.

I was really watching the wet and slippery road but I was going over the speed-limit. I do admit.

At the bottom of the hill this policeman, (observe man in the description) was hidden under cover of a hedge from the oncoming traffic, obviously waiting for speeders. According to some rules he was not supposed to be on the bottom of the hill to lay in wait, but two-hundred feet minimum above it.

So, hear I come and after a successful stop hear comes the officer, out of hiding.

He has (un-necessarily) his hand up to stop me since I am stopped already, then directs me to an open space next to the road and wants to see my driver license and insurance card.

In the meantime I explain my situation at home, which is the reason that I was a bit hasty.

He interrupts me by mentioning '40 clicks over the speed limit'.

I explained my situation at home to him again thinking that he would understand my reason especially since one of his brother officers had recently died of ALS, which received a lot of publicity, but he was just ignoring me and wrote quickly out a ticket for exceedingly speeding, doing 90 in a 50 zone and instead of handing it to me stuck it between the window washer of the truck, and took off, leaving me with a $180 fine to pay, in the rain.

I had just time to give his car a kick good enough to put a dent in it.

It was not a large dent but he screeched to a stop, jumped out of his car crying that he would throw me in jail for damaging government property and ordered me into the backseat of that government property, which I refused.

He tried rough-handling me into the backseat but I spread my arms so he could not get me through the door, finally when people gathered to see an old man being roughed up I thought it was enough, especially when I saw that it was dry inside his car and it was raining outside.

Once inside I told him that my responsibility for an ALS person had ended now and had squarely landed into his lap.

He asked me what I wanted and I said I wanted to go to my wife and for him to tear up that ticket but all he agreed to was to let me go.

I never had much luck with police men. Not with police-women either.

When I told Anne about my run-in with the police she was not at all happy and said that I had made a fool of myself and told me to 'apologize right now' and a few more words about being an example for your grandchildren.

When I met the police-officer he growled about what I wanted this time and when I told him to rip the fine-ticket in half he just laughed.

Knowing that I didn't get anywhere with him and afraid of Anne's scorn, I turned to the, for me, hard way telling him that I was sorry to have made an ass of myself and a few things more, making me really feel like a half-wit, but he asked me to excuse him a moment and when he returned handed me a new ticket, but this one was reduced to half the fee, grinning 'that is what you asked for, right?'

Who says that police are unreasonable anyways.

We shook hands and are now friends.