We took a trip to Idaho earlier this month. Dave's father passed away on January 2nd. He was the wonderful age of 94! He has led a great life. He lived in the same area of Idaho his entire life, and lived in the house he built with Betty as a young married couple until he was 90. The last years of his life he lived with Dave's older brother Brent and sister in law Vee as he began to need assistance and progressively needed more over the next four years. What a loving service they did for Delos when they took him into their home. He was a widower for the last 12 years of his life and often talked of longing to be with Betty and wondered why he was left behind for so long. I imagine it was a glorious reunion.
So off we went to Idaho. The weather in the northwest states was not within normal range of weather patterns. It was CRAZY cold! The weather reports were kind of scary with warnings of lots of snow and that many roads around Idaho have been and might be closed. We checked our antifreeze, checked the treads on our tires, we made Melanie go out and buy snow chains for her tires for her drive up from Utah. We watched the news and the reports made me nervous. As it ended up, there was definitely a lot of snow, and it was plenty cold but the roads were completely clear the whole way up. Yay. Rachel, Kyle and Roxanne flew up from Phoenix to Salt Lake City and Melanie (who lives in Utah now) picked them up and they came up together. Dave and I drove up earlier in the week.
We got up to our Idaho house, arriving after dark. I was worried we'd have to shovel our way to the door of the house, but the neighbor knew we were coming and kindly shoveled a path for us. Dave immediately got a fire going and started warming up the rooms. It didn't take long until it was toasty and comfortable. We had the fire going day and night for our entire visit. So comfy and warm.
Although we were in Idaho for a funeral, we also are remodeling and updating the house, so we planned a few projects. We wanted to get the living room in order. The last time Dave was there, he textured and painted the walls in the living room and kitchen. All the furniture and belongings in each room were piled high in the middle and in disarray. We sorted, cleaned, vacuumed and rearranged and got the public rooms of the house back in order. We were also in the middle of upgrading the main bathroom. We hired a local craftsman to put down some flooring. We spent part of a day shopping for flooring, and making decisions about projects for the future (flooring for the rest of the house). Speaking of flooring. . . there had been carpet in that bathroom for years. CARPET. IN A BATHROOM. I can't tell you how happy I was to see that go. It never smelled quite right. That was the first and most urgent project when we bought the house. All the extended family that stopped by and happened to notice said "Hallelujah -- that carpet is gone!" I have no idea how long it was there. I suppose it was a 'thing' at one time, that indoor/outdoor carpet. But in all the years I have been visiting that home, I never once went in there barefooted. The bathtub was in great shape, the cabinetry needed fresh paint, but otherwise was in great shape, the 1960's wallpaper had to go, but overall the bathroom was ok, except for that carpet!!
House projects done, then preparing for the funeral. Brent and Vee headed up the planning and implementing of the arrangements. They made an outline of the funeral years ago when Delos was able to help with that. They were so kind to take care of all the details. Delos and Betty had pre-purchased their funeral and burial plan, so that was taken care of. Brent and Vee had put together a video of photos and video and audio of Delos and Betty to have running in the foyer during the funeral and luncheon. What a gift, and what a labor of love scanning in all those photos. Brent has been working on scanning in photos and journals for years. What a gift to the family! We decided to add some framed photos to the display also. So I got some favorites framed and ready. I also wanted to put together a notebook of samplings of his journals. I scanned through and read hundreds of pages of Delos's journals from his mission in the 1940's. Delos was a journal writer from the time he was 16 until in his 90s when he could no longer keep up that task. He wrote daily. Literally every single day during those years. He wrote in the margin of each entry what time he woke up and what time he went to bed that night and then overviewed his day. He often talked about what he ate, especially his breakfasts and any treats or desserts he had enjoyed. There was page after page of mundane, then all of a sudden -- a gem! There would suddenly be something insightful, thoughtful, spiritual, or just plain sweet. Anyway, I printed off 30 or so pages of these 'gems' I found and we enjoyed reading snippets to the kids as we were preparing the booklet.
We also realized that Grandpa kept reading glasses EVERYWHERE! His distance eyesight was amazingly good even as a 90 year old. But he had reading glasses. He was proud of the fact that he'd get a quote for glasses from an optometrist for $100, but he'd find them through a mail order company or at a drugstore for 3/$10 (just magnified reading glasses, not prescriptions). We collected all we could find around the house along with the many many glass cases and displayed them in a basket in the living room.
The funeral was a good as we could have ever expected. It was well attended and it was sweet. Eric, Dave and Gordon all spoke about different aspects of his life (family/farming, missions, scouting) and they all did such an amazing job. The grandkids and great-grandkids sang a hymn together. Rachel and Aaron took care of the congregational music. The Bishop was so good and so sweet to the whole family. The Relief Society took care of such a good meal for the family afterwards.
After the service at the church building, we all went out to the cemetery. It was absolutely beautiful in the pictures, but man-oh-man was it cold and icy! Fingers and toes were aching, people were slipping and sliding, toddlers were crying. I'm glad it didn't last too long. The the cold and the snow sure made things look pretty, though. There were military honors, Brent received the American flag, Aaron played the bagpipe, the grandsons were the pall bearers. Delos was laid to rest next to Betty and near their 4 children who died in infancy. Before we walked to our cars, Dave and his nephew Dave led the group spontaneously in singing Delos's signature song "I'm My Own Grandpa".
After the luncheon, a few people came over to the house to visit. So many of Dave's cousins and nephews and nieces have such fond memories of the house and yard from their childhood. Everyone needed to walk around the property and share stories. Many had to go up in the 'carpet fort' that Eric built when he was young. Everyone commented "It was a lot bigger when we were kids!"
Overall, it was such a good day/week to remember and honor Delos and spend time with friends and family. Delos was a good, good man.
Pictures: The beautiful, freezing cold yard, and Dave out in it -- without a coat -- getting firewood. I couldn't even run out to the car without bundling up. It was painfully cold just being outside for a minute or two!
Grandpa's collection of glasses.
Jason visiting Eric's "Carpet Fort"
Display of photos and journals and plaques at the funeral.
Graveside services and military honors.