As I begin my time with you as your pastor, I am focused on getting to know you and how you do things. I sometimes forget that you probably also want to get to know me. Let me tell you a bit about my family. My dad was born in Nebraska and his family were farmers. But they were going broke. One year it would be draught, another year pestilence, another year flood. They finally loaded everything they had on a pickup truck and headed to California looking for work. Not finding anything there they heard the timber industry in the northwest was hiring, and they came to Washington. My mom was born here in Washington. Her parents were from Iowa and her dad moved west, working on the railroad.
My parents met while they were in high school in the Longview/Kelso area. They just celebrated their 69th wedding anniversary! My dad worked for Weyerhaeuser and my mom, when the children were older, worked for the school district. There were six of us children growing up in Longview. I am the second (or, as I like to describe it – the first born male). At first, mom kept everything even: girl, boy, girl boy. Then in her 40’s she had twin girls and threw everything off, casting us boys in the minority. I have ten nieces and nephews and two grandnephews. Like most families, some are active Catholics, one is active in another denomination, a couple are sporadic and one struggles with faith.
Until last December my parents lived independently. Ten years ago they sold the family home in Longview and moved to Sumner. When looking for a new residence they had two requirements: being able to walk to church and walk to Fred Meyers. And they found the perfect spot near St. Andrew’s. They were also closer to the twins who lived in Puyallup and Bonney Lake. Not only did they reach to decision to downsize and move on their own, a few years later they decided on their own that it was time to give up the car. I think my parents are pretty amazing.
In December, my dad, at age 90, was beginning to have some health issues and needed more assistance. My older sister who was living in Florida had just retired from the medical field and was in the process of building a new house with a “mother-in-law suite.” She graciously opened her home and we moved the folks to Florida. There have been a few hospital trips and numerous doctor office visits. My younger siblings and I are trying to find ways to support my older sister, taking turns going to Florida to give her and her family a break. As the youngest in her family, my mom cared for many family members in the latter years. We tell her that she trained us too well and now it’s our turn to care for them. It is still difficult for them to give up their independence. I hope to be able to go down in October or November to see them and give a hand to my sister.