About Karen Molenaar Terrell

Karen's stories have appeared in *Newsweek*, *The Christian Science Monitor*, and *Pack and Paddle Magazine* and she's the author of *The Madcap Christian Scientist* series, *A Poem Sits on my Windowsill*, *Finding the Rainbows: Lessons from Dad and Mom*, and co-author of *The Humoristian Chronicles: A Most Unusual Fellowship*. Her photos are featured in the spring 2014 edition of the *Bellingham Review*, and the April/May 2017 issue of *Mother Earth News*, and can be found at fineartamerica.com. http://www.amazon.com/Karen-Molenaar-Terrell/e/B0044P90RQ/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1312060042&sr=8-

“I Really Enjoy These Surprise Drives!”

Dad is falling asleep in front of his breakfast when I arrive. I ask him if he’d like to go for a drive and he nods his head yes. Megan gets his shoes on his feet and helps him into his coat. I pluck his mountain hat off the lamp in his room and put it on his head. As we’re working our way down the stairs, Dad turns to me and says, “I really enjoy these surprise drives!” We head out the door and to the car. Megan calls after us, “You two crazy kids have fun!”

Dad: Well, what should we talk about today?
Karen: What do you want to talk about? (Thinking.) Have you seen any good movies?
Dad: Yes, I’ve gone to a lot of movies lately.
Karen: What’s your favorite movie?
Dad: Naughty Marietta. Jeannette McDonald and Nelson Eddy. What’s your favorite movie?
Karen: Wow! That’s a hard one…
Dad: Have you ever seen Naughty Marietta?
Karen: I think I’ve seen some of it…

I pull into the Sisters Espresso, and Dad lets me know he’d like a root beer float. I use the Sisters Espresso gift card our friend, Cindy, left for me to use when I take Dad on drives. When I bring back Dad’s root beer float I show him the card and tell him that Cindy bought him his drink today.
Dad: Tell Cindy I really liked the root beer float.
Karen: I will!

I turn onto Allen West Road…
Dad: We haven’t been on this road for a while. (He’s right.) That hill would be considered a mountain in Holland. (He’s right again.)

As I’m driving down Allen West I decided I’ll take Dad to the little Bayview Airport – the airport is surrounded by forest, and I think the color might be pretty there right now. When I turn down the road that will take us to the airport…
Dad: We’re going to the airport now. Didn’t we go on a flight there once?
(Now I have no idea if Dad has been on a flight from Bayview Airport – I would not be surprised – but I am impressed that he would remember he is near an airport that he visited with me once a year ago.)

We pull up next to the flight museum and Dad and I look at some of the old planes that are sitting out next to the museum. I point out the trail that goes by the museum and mention that this is where my sons used to run x-country when they were in high school.
Dad: (Nodding.) I remember. I remember waiting for the boys right there at the curve in the road. Do they still run here?
Karen: No, that was when they were in high school.
Dad: (Nodding) Oh. Yeah.

As we head back down the airport road I spot an eagle flying around above me. It lands on a fir tree and I pull over to take some photos. Dad is watching the eagle, too, and I find myself really grateful that he got to the ophthalmologist in time and still has one good eye and can see things like eagles sitting in trees. A little further down the road and a young buck crosses in front of us. I get out my camera to take a quick picture.
Dad: Does your camera have a zoom?
Karen: Yup!
(Dad nods.)

When we pull up in front of his home, he unsnaps his seat belt and gets ready to get out. I note that he doesn’t ask me this time if this is a drop-off place, or if he’s going to go home from here, or who these people are, or what he’s doing here. I’m grateful for this. He seems to know where he is.

Megan and I help him up the stairs and he heads for the living room, saying something to Megan about a football game. Megan starts laughing, and says the TV is already turned to it. He settles happily into his chair.
Karen: I love you, Daddy.
Dad: I love you, Karen. Drive carefully.

If you enjoyed this father-daughter adventure, you might want to check out Karen’s book, Are You Taking Me Home Now?: Adventures with Dada collection of stories just like this one.

adventures with dad book cover

Latest book!

Advertisements

Sun-Cleansed

I learned some cool stuff on my walk around Lake Padden today. As I passed a couple of women in animated conversation walking the other direction, I heard one woman say to the other one, “There will be people with their noses pressed up against your window…” and I had to know what they were talking about, right?

So I asked, “Why will people be pressing their noses up against your window?”

And the woman who was the subject of the noses-pressed-against-her-window said that she’s been reading these books by a Canadian author named Louise Penny – and these books are wonderful! And she’s been telling all her friends about them.

“Are these cozy murder mysteries? I love cozy murder mysteries.”

The two women looked at each other and finally one of them said, “Well, they’re cozy, yes – but maybe not in the way you’d expect.”

Perfect! I just ordered the first one for my Kindle!

Then as I was stopped on the trail waiting for some really exuberant dogs to be pulled away from each other by their respective owners, I looked up and there was my old friend, Elena! I haven’t seen her for, like, a year! And we talked and chatted and she introduced me to her friend, Katie. That was fun.

A little further on, after I came out of the woods, I stood in a patch of sunshine for a few minutes to warm up my toes – which had started to become numb. A woman approached and I smiled and said, “Doesn’t the sun feel great?!” And she smiled back at me and agreed that it did. She had an accent of some kind – French maybe? – and she had a subtle fragrance that smelled of flowers. I usually try to avoid fragrances – but this one was really lovely – and I asked her what it was. She said it was Kenzo flower perfume. If I ever buy perfume, that will be the one I get.

As I was still standing in the sun, a man named Hans stopped to chat and told me (and I never knew this!) that sun is a sanitizer – and that vultures spread their wings in the sun to sanitize themselves.

I really like the idea of being sun-cleansed.

Today I was sun-cleansed and I met some really cool people, too.

(Below are some autumn reflections from Lake Padden today.)

Things that Drift and Flutter and Twirl

I love things that gently drift
and flutter and twirl around me –
tawny maple leaves in autumn
and glittery snowflakes in winter,
cherry blossoms that pile up
in pink drifts in the spring
and butterflies flitting
among alpine flowers in summer.

But it is hard to get a picture of drifting,
fluttering, twirling stuff. So words are all
I’ve got. The end.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

Moz Still with Me

Scott grabbed an old climbing ice axe out of our garage to take on a hike with us a couple weeks ago. We both assumed it was one of my dad’s old ice axes until we got up to the parking lot at Artist Point. Then Scott really looked at it and saw that it had belonged to my mom, Moz. It made us happy when we realized that we were bringing Moz along on this hike with us.

My dad is a well-known, big name in mountaineering – he’s climbed and painted on some of the highest mountains in the world – and people sometimes ask me to share some of his mountaineering adventures with them. But what maybe most people don’t know is that his wife, Moz, had her share of adventures, too – she’d climbed Mount Rainier twice, accompanied Dad on hikes all over the Pacific Northwest – on their honeymoon she’d climbed this humongous straight-up spire with him that looked like it was some made-up thing from a Hollywood set. Here’s a picture of her climbing over a fence to get to the spire…

Moz climbing on her honeymoon

In early 2017, when Moz was lying on the hospital bed in my living room, in and out of consciousness, struggling to breathe because of congestive heart failure, one of the hospice nurses asked if Moz had COPD – had she been a smoker? No, I told the nurse, Moz had been a singer – a professional vocalist – and the kind of singer she was is the kind that doesn’t smoke. The nurse looked at me kind of skeptically. So then I told her that Moz had climbed Rainier twice when she was young, and I saw the nurse look back at my mom with a new respect. The nurse said that she usually only gets to meet her patients when they’re  ready to pass – and that it’s nice to know something about the lives they had BEFORE she meets them in the person. I think knowing something about Moz’s adventurous past made her more real to the nurse – it gave Moz’s humanity back to her, if that makes sense.

There are certain pieces of music that always bring Moz to me. One of them is Allison Krauss’s version of I Will. As soon as I hear the first banjo chord come through my car radio I feel Moz’s presence in the car with me.

Yesterday I was driving from LaConner – I’d just paid my cable bill and picked up the folks’ mail from their old assisted living place (most of their old mail is from non-profit organizations wondering why Moz hasn’t donated to their causes recently and sort of chiding her for that – I’ve tried sending the mail back with “deceased” written on the envelopes, but the organizations don’t seem to be getting the message). I was passing the spot where Moz had once told me, as I was driving her home from one of her stays at the hospital, that she would really like some cream cheese dip and smacked her lips together – I always smile when I pass that spot – and Krauss’s I Will started playing on my CD. Instantly Moz was with me. I could feel her hugging me and wrapping me all up in her love. I started tearing up. Those of you who have lost people dear to you will understand the feeling I had, I think – it wasn’t sadness that I was feeling –  it was something deeper and more beautiful and more poignant – it was just… it was love, I guess. And I wished I still had her with me in the person so that I could hug her with my human arms, and talk to her with my human voice – but I knew I still had her with me in another form – in a form that couldn’t be taken from me.

Moz is still with me.

Love you forever and forever
Love you with all my heart
Love you whenever we’re together
Love you when we’re apart…
– John Lennon and Paul McCartney

“…individual good derived from God, the infinite All-in-all, may flow from the departed to mortals…”
– Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures

 

Four Five Star Reviews!

Friends! I have four reviews for Are You Taking Me Home Now? on Amazon – which… if you’re an author you’ll understand how grateful I am for this feedback. I so appreciate that these folks took the time to give me encouragement and support in this venture. It means a lot to me.

Dr. Bill
5.0 out of 5 stars
Written with love

September 18, 2018
Verified Purchase

Betcha can’t put this book down! Even if you do not know Dee Molenaar, or know of his life of adventure, the pure love and joy of a father-daughter relationship done right shines through on every page. This is a wonderful read, full of root beer floats and day trips including Dee’s 100th birthday return to Mt. Rainier. Karen writes so effortlessly and we can only hope she brings us another book on Dee’s 101st. And, in such often indecent times, this book will reaffirm the power of a family that loves one another and is never shy about saying it. Buy several copies; you’ll want to share with friends…and family.

Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars
A father-daughter love story

September 30, 2018
Verified Purchase

“Are You Taking Me Home Now?” is a heartfelt tribute from a daughter to her 100-year-old father, whom she clearly adores. In the journal-style entries, we get to know this duo intimately—through their long drives in the country; in waiting rooms and doctors’ offices; and in the adult care home where he lives, now that his beloved wife (and the author’s mother) has passed.

The writing is warm, engaging, and unpretentious. Her optimism contagious.
The book swells with vulnerability and courage, appreciation and generosity. Taking an ambling ride with these two will renew your faith in humanity.

Princess Mei Mei
5.0 out of 5 stars
Lovely, poignant, moving

September 28, 2018
Verified Purchase

As always, Karen Molenaar Terrell delivers a poignant tale that gives wonderful glimpses into her life. This novel features the authors adventures with her now 100 year old father, a famous mountaineer and climbing expert.

Through short stories, we are given a lovely look at a beautiful father-daughter relationship that will leave you happy, teary eyed and wanting for more. The stories let us see the love a daughter has for her elderly father, and the love he returns to her. A beautiful book, and I loved every page.

Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars
A memoir of the love between a father and daughter
September 30, 2018
Verified Purchase

This book was so good, I bought copies for family members and friends. It perfectly captures the love between a father and daughter. In short vignettes, the author tells us of her drives with her dad, and recounts some of their conversations. It warms my heart to read of a relationship as good as this.

adventures with dad book cover

Latest book!

 

Totally Took Me By Surprise

So when I was getting ready to pull out of the Sisters Espresso parking lot the other day another person got out of his truck and started walking up to the espresso stand. He looked serious and grim. From appearances he was pretty much everything I’m not: male; tall; young; of a different ethnicity. And as I was thinking these thoughts, and feeling a little intimidated by the serious expression on his face, he glanced my direction. Without thought I smiled at him through the car window – and he smiled this beautiful charming smile back at me – totally took me by surprise!

He made my day.

Meet Preston

Stopped at the post office to get my mail and met a new friend. Meet Preston. Preston is originally from Dallas, Texas. He has been traveling around the country for seven years. He calls himself a hobo. He is the same age as my oldest son, and has a red beard like my youngest son, and I felt myself going to that mother place. Preston assures me he calls his mom every day and makes sure to be home for the winter holidays. Preston is very cool. I gave him a lift to his next stop down the road. He promised me he’d stay safe, and reached over to give me a mother-son hug before he left the car.

He gave me permission to post this picture… 🙂

Preston Turrel hobo