Tom and Edna Paul
I debated about blogging about this trip because the reason for going was a sad one. Still, we had some wonderful times with family in the midst of it. With the blog serving as my personal calendar and journal I didn’t want to miss writing about this important family gathering.
Mo’s sister Edna had a lovely husband, Tom. They were a great pair, so it was with a lot of sadness that we learned of his passing. Edna lives in Colorado, and there wasn’t enough time to plan a driving trip so we found some airline tickets and within a few days were on our way to the Denver area. I think I had about 30 hours in between landing from my Missouri trip to visit my son before Mo and I boarded another flight to Denver.
Mo’s brothers chose to fly as well, and with one coming from Spokane and one from Portland, it was quite surprising that their flights arrived within minutes of our flight from Medford. Edna made sure that we had a nice rental SUV to use for the trip, and the four of us met at the airport without incident.
We chose to arrive a day before the funeral, and Edna opened her house to all four of us for the week. We went out to great dinners, took some lovely walks, and hosted some big meals for the family at Edna’s home.
Tom was Roman Catholic, and the service was a traditional mass, with wonderful readings from Scripture, and beautiful music from the choir and soloists. Edna’s daughter Susan played the bass sang Amazing Grace so beautifully. The meal served after the service was wonderful, provided by the church volunteers.
Edna lives in a lovely neighborhood within walking distance of the Bear Creek Trail system, and Dan, Don, Mo and I took a nice long walk on a lovely sunny afternoon.
Edna has two daughters, Susan and Marcie, and with their extended families, and the four Oukrop siblings and me, the family gatherings were full of fun and conversation. One evening I put together a roast beef dinner, and thanks to Mo’s brother Don, we didn’t run out of meat. He went shopping with me, and after I chose the two roasts, he gently reminded me that “You two eat like butterflies, and I don’t think that will be enough”. So I increased the thickness of the roasts ordered to 4 inches and bought a lot more stuff. It was, after all, a supper for 15. It took 2 large crockpots for the roasts and veggies, and even though there were potatoes in the mix, I also cooked a giant pot of mashed potatoes as well. These strapping young men eat a LOT. There were barely any leftovers.
The next day we went to the home of Mo’s niece, Susan, to play family games and have another great meal that Susan put together.
The weather had turned bitterly cold, typical Colorado style, and the frosty wind kept us moving along quickly on our afternoon walk that day.
Dan and Don had Sunday morning flights, but Mo and I weren’t scheduled to leave until later in the day. Susan kindly offered to take the two of us to the airport that afternoon so that we wouldn’t have to wait around all day after Don returned the rental car.
The entire trip was fairly easy, with no flight delays, no mix-ups on scheduling, and good family interactions. Sometimes when the Oukrop family has reunions farther west it is hard for all of the Colorado contingent to make it.
This was a great opportunity to spend some time with Mo’s nieces and their families. Tom’s death was not unexpected, but no matter, it is still hard to be alone again after so many years in a good marriage. Edna, with great help from her daughters, is doing Ok, and we are glad we could be there as well.