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GSBN: Digest for 6/19/05



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-> Thoughts on Fathers Day (off topic)
     by Catherine Wanek blackrange@...


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Date: 19 Jun 2005 21:15:47 -0600
From: Catherine Wanek blackrange@...
Subject: Thoughts on Fathers Day (off topic)

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

This is a totally personal email..... no reply is necessary.

My father Ralph died about three weeks ago after a lengthy decline 
(diagnosed as muscular dystrophy), so his passing was expected, and he was 
ready to go.  It was really a blessing for him, and my mother Betty, who 
was his primary caregiver. The last seven months, my sister Sherry had also 
been on hand, helping with his daily needs, which included.... 
everything.  I think he clung to life, although it was much impaired, from 
the survival instinct he developed as a G.I. in WWII.  Finally he let go.

I don't think of him at peace, I think of him as free, now.  His soul has 
shed the body that had slowly imprisoned it, and in an instant expanded 
into another level of consciousness.  It must be an incredible 
relief.  Certainly it is a natural transition and one we will all make -- 
but it is a transition into the unknown.  Confronting it can be scary for 
those of us still in this physical reality; there is comfort in faith of a 
deity or a benign universal consciousness.  And perhaps we all share the 
inner hope that when it is our time, we face the moment gracefully.

Some of you will have met my mother, but not my father, who was a lawyer 
and a well-respected municipal judge of Las Cruces, NM for 20 years.  We 
know because he kept getting re-elected, and I frequently meet people who 
speak highly of him and his wisdom in dispensing justice in the 
community.  If you are curious to know a bit more about Ralph, I include a 
couple short obituaries below, plus a poem my sister Connie wrote.  My 
mother Betty will probably spend winters in Tucson and summers here in 
Kingston at her strawbale house (which Pete and I are looking forward to), 
when she is not traveling.

On a late-afternoon walk last week I heard an unusual bird call.  An owl on 
the hill.  Not the (endangered) Mexican spotted.. they sound more 
tentative, hopeful.  This owl had a deep voice, it sounded like they are 
supposed to -- you know, wise.  It was loud and got my attention, and 
somehow it made me think of my father, coming back with wings to fly.   The 
call?  It sounded like, "Free now, free now."

I hope this note stimulates you to take a few minutes to appreciate not 
only your father, but your own life today (and every day).  And if you are 
interested in exploring the mystery of reality a little, I recommend a 
recent movie -- What the Bleep Do We Know? -- and a book -- The Message 
from Water lll, by Masaru Emoto.  They are guaranteed to astound you.

Blessings to you all,
Catherine

  Obituary from the Las Cruces Sun News

  Ralph D. Wanek, a practicing attorney and municipal judge of Las Cruces, 
NM for 20 years, died May 24 in Tucson, AZ at the age of 83. He was born in 
1921 in Menominee, MI, the ninth  and last child of Charles and Jenny 
Wanek.  A 1951 graduate of the University of Wisconsin School of Law, he 
practiced as an attorney in Green Bay, before moving with his family to New 
Mexico in 1964. Ralph was married to Betty Wanek for 55 years.  He was the 
father of Sherry (Denver), Connie (Duluth, MN), Catherine (Kingston, NM), 
Richard (Albuquerque), Charles (Boulder), and John (Denver), grandfather of 
Martina Litasi, Hannah and Casey Wanek Dentinger, Meg Wanek, and Emma 
Stark, all of whom survive him.

He served his country during the second World War in the Pacific theater, 
and his ashes will be buried among his fellow soldiers in the National 
Memorial Cemetery of Arizona in Cave Creek, according to his wishes, on 
June 8.  Family and friends will gather in Denver in August to honor him. 
He was a man of integrity and great compassion, a thoughtful man, and he 
had an independent soul and a sharp wit. Many were his friends at the Las 
Cruces tennis courts, where he played regularly for decades.  He enjoyed 
and followed all sports.  He was well loved and will be much missed.

  Contributions in his memory may be made to the Muscular Dystrophy 
Association and to National Public Radio.


 From The Menominee (MI) Herald Leader:

  Ralph D. Wanek, municipal judge of Las Cruces, NM, for 20 years, died May 
24 in Tucson, AZ at the age of 83. He was born in 1921 in Menominee, MI, 
the ninth  and last child of Charles Wanek and Jenny (Mary) Bottkol 
Wanek.  He was the nephew of Emma Wanek Husemeier, a long time employee of 
the Menominee Herald Leader, and as a boy he delivered Herald Leader 
newspapers.  His grandfather founded the Wanek Harness Shop, and his father 
carried on the trade until automobiles replaced horses and business waned.

  A 1951 graduate of the University of Wisconsin School of Law, he 
practiced as an attorney in Green Bay before moving with his family to New 
Mexico in 1964. He served his country during the second World War in the 
Pacific theater, and his ashes will be buried among his fellow soldiers in 
the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona in Cave Creek, according to his 
wishes, on June 8.  Family and friends will gather in Denver in August to 
honor him. He was a man of integrity and great compassion, a thoughtful 
man, and he had an independent soul and a sharp wit. Many were his friends 
at the Las Cruces tennis courts, where he played regularly for decades.  He 
enjoyed and followed all sports.  He was well loved and will be much missed.
  Contributions in his memory may be made to the Muscular Dystrophy 
Association and to National Public Radio.


My poet sister Connie lives far away, in Duluth, Minnesota, and couldn't 
visit our parents in Tucson as often as she would have liked.  She emailed 
this to my mom a few days after my dad transitioned.

The Death of My Father

  He died at different times in different places.
  In Wales he died tomorrow,
  which doesn't mean his death was preventable.
  It had been coming a long time
  across the ocean, the desert, pausing often,
  moving like water or like wind, or like time,
  here turned aside by a stone,
  then hurried where the way was clear.

  Once I lay on my back in the grass and watched
  as cloud after cloud moved east
  and just disintegrated.  The mystery now
  is not where they went, but how
  I could ever have been so idle.

  Funerals are all the same.
  I saw him cry at his mother's wake
  when I as young enough to be
  picked up, lofted right into someone's arms.
  He, a man, cried that day,
  but people smiled, too.  You think now
  you want to be remembered,
  but the dead don't care.
  My grandmother's face said that.

  Indifference is a relief, after a lifetime
  of mothering one's many worries,
  trying not to play favorites.

  I wasn't there when he died.
  I feel that keenly, that I should have had a share.
I was spared unfairly.  I was not fed
  the bitter broth and the hard bread.
  I missed everything no one wanted.
All day I was chained to nothing.
What time did it happen exactly?
  What exactly was I doing then?
  What can I do now?


  Take care of yourself, Mom.
  Love,
  Connie




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