Monday, November 20, 2006

Over the river and through the woods...

It's not quite the route to Moses Lake, Washington, but it's the intro to every Thanksgiving journey I've made in the past many years. The road to Moses Lake is more "over the floating bridge and through Snoqualmie Pass", but one of my favorite Thanksgiving memories is bound up in this sweet old refrain.

It was November of 1989, I think, when my sister called me in Denver with the awful words, "Mom's had a stroke, it doesn't look good, can you come home?" I flew home to the Pacific Northwest with my heart in my mouth. My brother and his family, my sister and hers, our cousins, aunts and uncles all seemed to converge that November afternoon in Vancouver, Washington, where my mother, Mona Elizabeth Larson Ketcham, was hospitalized with a major stroke.

We had been planning to have Thanksgiving at cousin Katie's, with my mother and all the family who could come. And we did have Thanksgiving there, but immediately thereafter, we all trooped over to the hospital, formed a conga line outside her room, and danced into her room singing "over the river and through the woods, to Grandmother's bed we go", much to her delight and the consternation of the nurses.

She couldn't speak. One side of her body was floppy and loose, but half of her face could smile, and smile she did! We were all scared to death but more scared to show it than anything. So when she smiled and laughed at our antics, it was the reprieve we'd hoped for. We knew she wouldn't be leaving us just yet.

So tomorrow I head over the floating bridge and through the pass to spend Thanksgiving with my sister Jean and her husband, their children Joel and Christina and kids, Susanna and Henry and their daughter, Scott and Diana and their puppy, and maybe Justin, if he can get away.

And on Saturday morning, Lord willing, I will be privileged to attend the christening of the newest life in our family, little miss Mona Grace Martin.


LinguistFriend said...

It sounds as if your mother had the ability still enjoy life, for a while. Have a good, vivifying time with your family.

ms. kitty said...

Thank you, LF. I will do just that.

Joel said...

And there's both a river and a wood between here and there, so the song still works, even if it doesn't include a mention of the interstate.