ten thousand

Bimidji, Minn./Paul Bunyan/Babe

Over the weekend in Minnesota, Alice ate maybe twice her weight in strawberries. She swam until her lips turned blue and only stopped because I made her.

Lake Superior

From Duluth, where David grew up, we drove with his parents and sister to Crookston – a little to the north and much further west, just skirting North Dakota. On Saturday, in the sun, there was a funeral service for his grandmother, Erma, who died in October. I feel very fortunate to have spent some time with her.

My parents used to have a photo album with Norman Rockwell’s family tree on the cover. I liked to pull it out and look at it and wonder, “Who was the pirate? Who was the cowboy?”

What is the story?

I was thinking about that at the cemetery, and about how many pieces are part of this one tiny girl.

The Protestant hymnal represents a sad gap in my cultural knowledge.

I have picked up only a few – the Thanksgiving one that seems so sweet to me, “We Gather Together,” and the Easter one, “Christ the Lord is Risen Today.”

And every afternoon when I pick up Alice, a sung-by-kids arrangement of “How Great Thou Art” is playing in the background.

So we both know that one too.

I like the soaring lyrics. She likes to dance. And that’s what she did, in my arms, when, at the cemetery, we all sang it.


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