Spike on the River
Neal in Antarctica
Play a game?
< ? Colorado Blogs # >
July 19, 2006 - Tuesday, 12:15 a.m.
I sat down beside Lynn. She’d come along and notice that Ruth was lying with her head on the table and was wondering if she was okay. She said she was, and the three of us talked. Ruth told us, once she died we were to tell my parents how much she’s appreciated all that they have done for her over the years. I think she was particularly happy to be visiting these past few weeks.
Shortly after that Lynn got up and headed back to the kitchen. I sat and visited with Ruth until lunch. She said how beautiful it was and that the pines reminded her of her childhood home in New Hampshire. She spoke of how wonderful it is for people who live in the city to have the chance to get out into nature. She talked about how lovely the wilds of New Hampshire and New England are. She told me that she is never homesick. She said, “In my mind I can go anywhere, I remember it all. It is all there in memories.” She seemed so very much at peace, as if she were trying to absorb it all before she went home.
I’ve known Ruth since I was in high school. She is one of those amazing women that I have come across in my life. She was a friend of my mother’s. I think that they met before we moved to Colorado from Minnesota. They probably met at some Bahá’í meeting of some sort in the early 1970’s. However, I met her when we moved to Colorado. She was an amazing speaker. She did a number of classes that I attended over the years. She has always been one of my favorite speakers.
I believe she found the Bahá’í faith in the 1960’s. I believe it was during the time her son, Spike, was in college in Montreal. Which should have been the early 60’s, as he was born in 1943. When she first heard of the Faith, she said, it seemed too good to be true and she spent around two years deeply studying the Faith. She had to prove to herself academically that it was the truth and the path that she wanted to follow. Her husband, Hamp, accepted the Faith with his heart, with very little of the academic proof that Ruth had required.
Ruth and Hamp were a very sweet couple. My mother told me that Hamp had been Ruth’s champion most of her life. Her father was a hard man and being dressed down by him was something he did very well. My mother said that once Ruth’s father dressed Hamp down. My mother said she asked him, what he did, and he said he just stood there and smiled. I am sure that made him furious.
While my parents were living in Haifa, Israel, Ruth and Hamp were living in Cyprus. My parents visited them a couple of times. My parents returned from Haifa, before Ruth and Hamp returned from Cyprus. They returned from Cyprus when Hamp had a stroke. He recovered in the states, but was in a wheel chair for the rest of his life.
Ruth took care of him, getting him in and out of his wheel chair for everything. He was at least twice the size Ruth was. When Ruth needed to get both of her hips replaced they both came and stayed with my parents so Ruth could recover from the surgery and have my parents around to help with Hamp during that time.
They lived on the Western slope of Colorado, and in the Four Corner’s Area and on the NABI (Native American Bahá’í Institute) property in Arizona. Within the last year or so, Hamp had to go into a nursing home, when he would fall Ruth couldn’t pick him up any more. He passed away in the last year after a fall that broke his arm.
Since that time, Ruth’s short-term memory has given her problems. In the past couple of weeks that she was at my parents, my mother said that there were times when Ruth wasn’t sure where she was and she easily gets lost. My mother said that Ruth has needed to get back into nature as it is crucial to her psyche.
At summer school Ruth mentioned a couple of times that Jeanette (my mother) has her entire day planned out, when she is to get up, eat, rest or go to sleep. My mother loves Ruth dearly, but I know that there was a lot of pressure involved with having Ruth visit. There was so much to worry about for her.
My mother told me that Ruth very much has enjoyed her visit and her time at summer school. Ruth noted that the location of the summer school would be a nice place to die.
Ruth mentioned a little bit about her son, and mentioned that he has a website. I’ve read a little of the site and I believe that Spike must be more like his mother, then his father. Ruth is in her mind a lot, and Hamp was hands-on. Ruth mentioned to me that when Spike was small they lived in a very isolated area of New Hampshire. That Spike attended a one room school and was very much a solitary person. The look on her face told me how much she liked being so close to nature. She definitely feels that it is a place that city people need to go to more often then they do.
When we were sitting at dinner someone asked Ruth was type of stone was in her wedding ring. It was a gray color. She said it was a star-sapphire and asked if we wanted to hear the story of it. Of course, we said yes. She said that it was during World War II. She and Hamp were sitting with another couple at dinner one night, and they were taking about where the men might be shipped out to for the war. The other woman said to her man, ‘You MUST go to India, for I MUST have a star-sapphire.” Ruth said that for the next little while, when ever she and Hamp had a spat she would tell him. “I hope they ship you off to India, and don’t come back unless you come with a star-sapphire.” She chuckled. It became a standing joke with them. The other man was sent to England and Ruth said he died in an air mission there. Hamp, however, was sent to India and flew dozens of missions back and forth from India to China. A dangerous assignment as in the 40’s the planes couldn’t go high enough to go over the Himalayas. The planes had to fly through the valleys, often in very cloudy conditions, flying by instrumentation rather then site.
She said that when he returned she went to meet him at the station in Boston. She said she arrived and looked for him for a long while. He noticed her very quickly, but stood back and waited for her to find him. She said she finally found him and as she approached him said, “Did you get it?” “He said, “Yes.” She said she got the stone set and replaced her cheap wedding ring with it.
Time passes, you know? And we all go from childhood to the elderly. (If we are lucky). Eventually we have to reconcile the memories of those that we love. We go from vibrant people to people who have trouble with our memories. Our hands begin to shake and we struggle with the aging of our bodies. I think of my grandmother. Who was invincible when I was a child, to the woman that my mother helped feed, whose hands shook so much that she had a hard time getting her spoon to her mouth. I know that one day my mother will be in that same place, as will I. Our time on this plane of existence is so very short. The world so full of wonders that in a dozen lifetimes we would be unable to see it and experience it all. Which pieces do we choose? At eighteen the world is at your fingertips and anything seems possible. At forty-five you realize that there will never be enough time to do it all, and at eighty you sit and recall the wonder of your life, cherishing the precious moments that will never return, but forever live in your memory. The passage of time, in so many ways, is sad. Life is so full of both the good and the bad.
Sweet Dreams... M.