Monday, June 05, 2006

My dear friend Cassie

will be 13 years on July 24th that I first met Cassie. The occasion was her 80th birthday. I went as a guest of a friend and was delighted to listen to her talk - her sweet Norwegian accent and her funny idioms. I can't recall how our friendship flourished, but I can tell you this - I am so glad it did.

Here's a little of her background: she was born the eldest of three children to a poor farmer and his wife who lived in Wisconsin. They attended a Lutheran church. Cassie's job on the farm was to stay in the house to help her mother with the cooking, baking, and laundry. Consequently, I have been treated to some of the best sugar cookies and apple pies imaginable! As a young woman, her favorite thing was going to community dances. It was at one such event that she tapped Warren on the shoulder during a "tag dance." That tap blossomed into marriage. The marriage came to a shocking end about 14 years later when Warren died suddenly of a brain hemorrhage.

Cassie had mourned Warren's death about 9 months or so when one morning she heard a knock at the door. She opened the door to see Warren's cousin, Russell, who asked, "How would you like some company for breakfast?" Cassie thought to herself: What could I serve him? So she asked him if he liked pancakes. "Do you have Log Cabin Syrup?" he asked. "I sure do!" she replied. You guessed it, Cassie and Russell were married not long after. If I have heard Cassie tell that story once, I have heard her tell it 100 times, and I never tire of it. Her face just beams!

A few years after Russell and Cassie celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary, Russell became very ill with emphysema. Cassie nursed him the best she could, but in 1988 he passed into glory. [I didn't meet her until 1993 - so I never met him, though I think I would have liked him.]

Cassie has been a wonderful role model for me. I have only met a few others that are as generous as she - both with material things and compliments and encouragement. I have always admired her positive attitude. When her sister (age 91) is crabby to her, she says, "I just let it go over my head because she probably doesn't feel good." She loves the Lord and is always saying "God was with me..." She'll always have a special place in my heart.

I don't get to see her as often as I used to as she had to move from the twin cities about a year ago to an assisted living facility in Rochester to be nearer to her niece. We talk on the phone a couple of times a week, but it isn't the same.

About 3 weeks ago she had a nasty fall and broke her arm in two places. Now she wears a cast and is having to deal with eating with her left hand. But she is a trooper and doing the best she can.

If you get a chance to have an elderly person become your friend - take it. I am so blessed to have Cassie as one of my "girlfriends"!

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