Sunday February 07th 2010, 10:11 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knitting a Gift,Life

Kurt spoke briefly today.  I remember him when.  It was inevitable, but it’s still somehow surprising week after week to see a man who’d been riding his bike dozens of miles a day on into his late 70’s now needing help to walk a few steps; when I asked him recently how his grandkids were doing, he both laughed and sighed and admitted he couldn’t quite keep them all straight anymore.

He is the oldest member of our ward (congregation), he proudly reminded us today, and, he said, he hopes to have many more years to reminisce over.

I found myself wishing I could tell the newer members of the ward a little of the back-in-the-days.  You know that when that happens, I end up inflicting it on you-all.

Kurt’s wife’s brother raised his family in my hometown, and the young woman growing up that Kurt’s older son would later marry was also from my home ward in Maryland; meeting Kurt and his wife when we moved here was like putting a little piece of our hometown puzzle together.  Understand that there are many little stories of surprise and small-world overlappings embedded in that sentence.

His daughter-in-law’s grandparents were the founders of a large international business that, if I told you the name, you would instantly recognize it.

So here’s the story, going back to when my kids were little.  Kurt had a tradition of having his sons and his grandsons fly into town here every summer to go on a big annual Scout camp-out our ward held,  Kurt coming along too.  Just like old times for him and his now-grown kids; there were new memories to be made with his sons as adults now and with grandkids–sometimes granddaughters too–to get to know better, up high in the Sierras with a pack and a tent or two in the clear bright air. (My John adds that Kurt and his older son would race to see who could be first to swim two miles’ distance in forty-degree water, and that Kurt did 200 push-ups a morning.)

There was a young dad in our ward, father of a little girl about a year old when he got called to be ward scoutmaster.  So Steve was in charge of those events.  Now, I have no idea how much camping experience he had, but he was game.  Steve, tall, blond, and gorgeous, had met his Hawaiian wife while surfing in the Islands.

She missed home and he missed Hawaii too, and eventually they moved back there.  He got a job working for a large corporation for the necessary nine-to-five end of life. He was bright and good at what he did, but his boss tended to write him off as something of a beach bum.

Fast forward a few years. People move, people you don’t often see anyway you lose touch with, it happens.

Kurt’s son, who was by now a corporate bigwig in his in-laws’ company, and his wife, were out strolling along the beach on I think it was the Big Island, talking to the head honcho of the local facility.  I’m sure the man was nervous; or rather, at least, I know I would be, if I didn’t know the two he was talking to but only their Names.

And all the sudden Kurt’s son was running! Running, and throwing his arms around one of the manager’s employees, that beach bum dude, going, “STEVE! *STEVE*!!  How ya DOIN’!!!” Thumping each other on the back, thrilled like little kids, the wife joining in, wanting to catch up on old times, talking about back in the day, how are the kids, forgetting business entirely.

While the manager stood there stunned, wondering, What just happened here?! How do they…? How on earth!?

I’ve been told Steve got a nice promotion after that.

Kurt may not remember all his family’s stories in his old age.  But we younger folks can help him write down memories of some of the good he created in others’ lives and remind him and cheer him in his old age.

7 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I feel warm all over and I don’t even know one person in this story.

Thank you for sharing it!

Comment by Suzanne in Mtl 02.08.10 @ 7:20 am

Beautiful. It is a small world.

Comment by Channon 02.08.10 @ 8:25 am

Now you’ve got me guessing. Would this happen to include the M family? My parents knew them well back in the day.

Meanwhile, we’ve had our second two-foot snow in one winter. It doesn’t even seem as high this time. But we’re expecting more snow on Tuesday. I wish I could send you a box.

Comment by LauraN 02.08.10 @ 9:01 am

Knowing all the people in your blog except Steve, I was delighted to be reminded of them. After your mother retired from teaching we celebrated by taking a tour of Israel with her cousin Truman Madsen, who is well known in Mormon circles. Truman said this would be the last tour he’d take (I’m sure it wasn’t)and if we wanted to go we’d have to go with a group which turned out to have been organized by people in Palo Alto. Among them was Kurt and all his children. The son you refer to was Ron, and Ron and his brother were very competitive. It was a very hot (about 117 degrees)when our group reached the Masada. Most of us went to the top of the Masada on a teleferique. There was a dirt road, more like a pathway, that also went to the top. Ron and his brother asked Truman what was the record for the fastest ascent on the path. Truman didn’t really know, but he guessed “about 20 minutes.” In the hot, stifling heat Ron and his brother ran up to the top, in less than 17 minutes. Several years later Ron and his brother entered–and finished– the Iron Man competition in Hawaii. Besides being competitive and athletic, these are good people in every sense of the word. And bright. Ron speaks Portuguese, French, Mandarin, and probably a good bit of Flemish/Dutch.

Comment by Dad 02.08.10 @ 9:23 am

My husband is one of the oldest men in our new ward. In our previous ward, there was him and one other “old” man. We often have the “small world” experience. I have been on the email route this week, due to the big storm, with our good friends from here who now live in Chevy Chase, MD.

Comment by Sherry in Idaho 02.08.10 @ 9:49 am

*happy sigh* I just love your stories!!!

Comment by Diana Troldahl 02.08.10 @ 1:11 pm

OK, I admit, I had to diagram your story to get it straight in my head. I love its-a-small-world stories! During college I babysat for one of my HS teachers and worked for his wife for a time. 20 years later I joined a quilt guild and became friends with one of the “senior ladies.” It was another 3 years before we discovered she was Grandma to the boy I had babysat. It’s a small world after all!

Comment by DebbieR 02.08.10 @ 2:02 pm

Leave a comment
Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>