Made a quick trip to Olympia, Washington so Scott could present his photojournalism expertise at a newspaper conference. Olympia is such a beautiful city. Farmers Market four days a week through October. Reflections of boats in the marina. The capitol building rising above Capitol Lake. And then we were up at the crack of dawn to get back home today – and look what we saw!
(Photos by Karen Molenaar Terrell.)
I got a message from Amanda that Dad was having a “rough time” and headed over there to check up on him.
He was sitting at the kitchen table, finishing breakfast when I got there. I rested my hand on his back and he looked over at me and smiled. I held his hand and he brought my hand to his lips and kissed it. Then I brought his hand to my lips and kissed it. He smiled again.
Dad: How’s Mom?
Karen: She’s fine.
Dad: Where is she now… is she (mumbling)…?
Karen: (Thinking how I should answer this question. Finally…) Daddy, Mom passed on two years ago. (I feel I should say this – I feel like he needs to know…) She’s waiting for you when that time comes.
Dad: (Nods and looks down at his plate. I’m not sure he heard or understood. I wait.) Where are Peter and David?
Karen: Pete’s in Hoodsport – on the peninsula. Dave’s in Olympia. They’re both doing great. Pete came and saw you a couple days ago. You watched football together. Dave’s coming up this weekend.
Karen: They both love you very much.
Karen: And I love you, too.
(Dad looks up at me and smiles.)
Karen: Looks like you’ve been eating an avocado.
Dad: Yeah. This was a rich one.
Karen: (I lean over so my mouth is next to his ear, and start singing a hymn I know he’s familiar with..) “In heavenly Love abiding, no change my heart shall fear, and safe is such confiding, for nothing changes here…” and “O dreamer, leave thy dreams for joyful waking!…”
(Then we sit quietly for maybe ten minutes, or twenty – I lose track of time. I don’t feel the need to say or do anything. We’re just together. He’s starting to nod off now. His head drooping towards the table…)
Karen: Do you want to go sit in the recliner in front of the television and take a nap?
Dad: (Looks up at me and nods.) Yeah.
(Dad is in a wheelchair today – he’s having a hard time standing or walking – so Dietrich pushes him in the wheelchair over to a recliner and helps lift him into the chair. Amanda and Dietrich cover Dad with a blanket and get him comfortable.)
Karen: Are you comfortable?
Karen: I love you.
Dad: I love you. (Thinking.) Is Mom gone?
Karen: Yeah. But I feel her presence with me all the time. And I know she’s waiting for you when you’re ready to join her.
Dad: (Nods. And this time I know he understands.)
I wave to him and blow him a kiss. And he waves back and gives me a sleepy smile.
Dad had just finished breakfast when we arrived. He was tired – leaning his head on his hand. He started scratching his ear with the hand he was leaning against. I tried to take mental photographs of his face, his skin, his hand, to keep with me forever. Today he is alive. He’s moving and breathing and thinking. The skin on his hand is thin – almost translucent – stretched thinly over the bones. I could see the hand skeleton moving through his skin as he scratched his ear – and I thought, “How beautiful!” It’s the same thought and feeling I had when I took mental pictures of Mom’s face and hands in the time before she passed. So beautiful!
Yesterday was such an awesome day! One of the cool things that happened was… I was walking through Mount Vernon, enjoying the trees changing color, heading for the co-op, and I saw John the Peace Man carrying his sign and walking towards me down the sidewalk! So I say hey to John – kind of remind him who I am and how we’ve met and etc. – and then I stop in at this place to talk about my flyers and while I’m in there – I remember! “Oh! It’s Friday! That’s why I saw John the Peace Man – he’s going to the Courthouse to stand there with his friends from noon to one and hold signs about peace and kindness! And I’ve rarely been able to do that – because I’ve always been teaching. But… I’m retired now!”
So. Yeah. I walked to the Courthouse and joined my peacenik friends with their signs – Jim opened his hatchback and pulled out a “GOOD WILL TO ALL” sign for me to hold. And it was so fun! People waving and honking and giving the thumbs up. I saw former colleagues – Stan came through in his car from one direction, waving and smiling, and Eric came through from the opposite direction and waved and mouthed “We miss you!” – that meant a lot to me.
I love my community.
Participated in my first-ever public forum tonight as a candidate. I was so nervous – I think we all were – the other school board candidates and I were laughing about that before it started – I don’t think any of the other candidates had done one of these before, either. But we all survived and came out smiling and shaking hands and nobody threw tomatoes at us or anything.
Also – the Seahawks won.
It was a good night.
The League of Women Voters hosted the event at our local public library. All the school board candidates gave opening and closing speeches and in-between we were asked questions from the audience.
Here’s my opening speech:
It’s great to be here tonight with my teammates on this adventure. All of us – Bill, Holly, Rich and I – are running because we genuinely want to help our community. What I can bring to the board are my years of teaching experience – right now the board doesn’t have anyone with a teaching background on it. I have a Bachelor’s in Education and History from Washington State University, and a Master’s in Literacy from Walden University. I was a teacher for more than 30 years – for 20 of those years i was in the Burlington-Edison school district and taught at three of the schools there – Allen, Edison, and West View, the district’s dual language school. And for the last seven years I’ve taught at Emerson High School, the alternative high school in Mount Vernon. I think my teaching experience would add something positive to the board.
And here’s my closing bit:
I have a passion for teaching and learning. As I contemplated my retirement from teaching last spring I realized I still wanted to be a part of education – and it occurred to me that I could bring my experience and love for teaching to service on the school board.
My mom passed on two years ago. She was the youngest of ten children – eight of them daughters – and she was the only female in her family to get a university degree. Education was very important to her. My brothers and I knew growing up that there was an expectation we would go on to college. My mom worked as a teacher’s aide for many years and impacted a lot of young lives – she knew how to reach the struggling students. I still hear from some of her old students about how much my mom meant to them. I think Mom would be proud of me for running for school board – win or lose – I think she’d be proud that I put my name into the race.
I think I could bring a lot of good to the school board.
Thank you for inviting us all here tonight to share our visions with you.
No, no, no, no, no. An American president does not ask a foreign president to investigate a fellow American. American investigations of Americans stay in America. And to offer weapons to a foreign president in exchange for investigating an American citizen is also a no-no. I feel weird having to say this. I mean. Duh, right?
“coup: a sudden, violent, and illegal seizure of power from a government.”
“impeachment: a charge of misconduct made against the holder of a public office.”
Let’s be clear: The impeachment process is not a “coup.” It is a legal process – written into the US Constitution – for putting on trial a person holding public office. Donald Trump is NOT our government. Our government does not exist of Trump, by Trump, or for Trump anymore than it does for any of the rest of us. Donald Trump is a person elected to serve the people in a government that belongs to THEM. Our government is “of the PEOPLE, by the PEOPLE, for the PEOPLE.” If Donald Trump has used American weapons, paid for by our tax dollars, as a means of bargaining with a foreign power to help him find dirt on a rival in the 2020 election – as Donald Trump has publicly admitted doing – then he needs to be put on trial. And no, that is not a coup. That is a necessary step taken to keep our nation secure and working as a democratic-republic.