Her name was Magill, and she called herself Lil
But everyone knew her as Nancy – Rocky Racoon by the Beatles.
I never quite got what Paul McCartney was getting at with this line but I have started to see it in my own life more and more. I have discussed the strange proclivity of relatives to not go by given names. My mother’s sisters never went by their given names, but by nicknames. My mother was given a nickname but she never used it. On my Father’s side was aunt Vivian whose name was Luella;Uncles whose names were Howard, but I knew him as John, and Lester who I knew as Vernon. There is nothing monumental or earth shattering about this but I find it interesting none the less.
Well Vernon (Lester) Seter passed away on Sunday, October 11 at the age of 95. My memory of him was his humor. He was a genuinely funny man with a very sharp mind. Sadly he was smitten with Alzheimer’s a few years ago and that wit was hidden a bit. The last time I saw him it took awhile for him to recognize me but there was a moment. He needed some help to get around and so did his wife Ann. She said that she was worried about getting over some rough ground at the park where we visited and Vernon said he would help her. She asked, “will you be my cane?” And he replied, without a beat “if I am able”.
That was the kind of wit I grew up listening too when this family got together. There were times when I would listen and suddenly a few minutes later I would laugh because it took that long for me to get the joke. That was also the kind of dedication I would see between spouses. He doted on Ann and she reciprocated. When my parents and they would get together I felt like the fifth wheel on a double date. As all long married couples, they had their up and downs but I don’t believe either couple would have had it any different in their life.
So Vernon died on Sunday and will be buried on Friday the 16th. My mother died on August 1 and because of covid complications she too will be buried on Friday. It is an interesting end to two intertwined lives. I have been told that Vernon spent a lot of time taking to God in the last days. My mother’s diary entry for the last few days before she went to hospital was scattered with prayers for family and friends and the relief of the virus.. Talking with God is a good thing – listening to him is even better. Like some of my relatives, he has different names, but everyone of them is love.