This is my mother in law at her 100th birthday party.  The blue thing is her covid mask.  Her name was Polly Freeman.  That party was in November in Wausau WS.  This summer she moved to nursing home in Minnesota to be closer to her daughter Linda and closer to my wife here in North Dakota.  Shortly after getting settled in, covid was found at the home,  and quarantine began.  My wife has been preoccupied with me but was finally able to go and see her mom.  The second day she was there her mom died.

100 years is pretty amazing.  The Biblical parameter in Psalm 90 is three score and ten which is 70 so we can’t say her’s was and untimely death but she is gone nevertheless.  The void exists and the phone call about to be made to someone who can’t answer is an interesting phenomenon that I still experience and my mom has been gone for a year.  My wife gets it now.  There is an abiding presence and bond that is there even after the silver cord is loosed.  Memories may dim but the tone and tint are still there.  That leads to this.

I am experiencing an interesting situation in which I remember things I didn’t know that I knew, if that makes sense.  I had a clear mental picture of Polly coloring or painting black and white photographs as a young person in a photography studio.  There were wedding and graduation pictures that had color added by hand.  Not long after I thought about this my wife informed me that her mom did that as an early job in her uncles shop.  His name was Krueger and his studio was in Merrill WS.

Adding tone and tint to black and white photos is adding tone and tint to memories.  Color and shading, tint and hue are more complicated than we might think.  Every memory has a color palette like good food has a pallet, Mediterranean or European; Scandinavian or Latino.  Remembrance, is colored by personality and conversation, silence or exuberance, joy or sorrow.  Polly added tone and tint to memories by her knowledge and acquaintance with parochial school teachers, Pastors, and musicians in the LCMS.  She sang in a choir led by Carl Schalk who has at least 12 compositions in our hymnal including one of my favorites, “Thine the Amen, Thine the Praise”.

She loved going to church and she remembered so many members of our parish, their families, joys and sorrows and often asked after them.  She added to all our memories as well and we we will share her obituary soon.