Estimated time of departure

When one is elderly and retired, we don’t always sleep as soundly as we’d like. It’s the “bathroom” thing, of course, but it’s also the fact that most of us no longer do a lot of physical activities getting our old body’s tired enough to sleep the hours we should.

Not wanting to disturb my son Doug or our puppies Molly and Riley, I woke this morning two hours before the sun was even beginning to rise. I shut my door and turned on my TV set to see what was happening in the world. As it had been for days, there was more of the discussion about what to do with those Confederate flags.

Gee whiz, I thought. Don’t we have enough other problems in this country than having a bunch of idiots trying to reconstruct the Civil War? Of course — as happens almost daily – some other idiot is demanding that a plaque, long established in its locale and depicting the Ten Commandments be taken down. I just want to scream.

Doug and I were talking about the expiration dates on goods sold in our grocery stores. I once bought a bottle of ketchup — in Reno, not here — that was expired months earlier. My son, being the clown he can sometimes be, asked if I had an expiration date? Okay, so we laughed. However, last night, as I sat up in my bed in the wee hours of the morning, I got to wondering.

Just when will I leave this veil of tears? Of course I’m closer to leaving than entering, that’s for sure. But quite frankly I’m not in any real hurry. There I sat, propped up on my pillows, thinking about all that I’d done in these oh so many years. I’ve given the world five very nice men, and what followed were five great grandkids and ten great grandkids.

Then, as always, follows, I thought about so many little things, unimportant to the world, but important to me. I just love my grandbabies; they’re such a joy and blessing. For a short time – between jobs and apartments after my second husband Van passed away – I stayed with son David, his wife Wendy and their two girls Leslie and Sarah.

The girls were going through that junior high phase and loved to play being hairdressers. I would sit on the sofa and they would do my hair in a ton of different styles. Those were the days when I still had long hair and not incidentally a good set of false teeth. Ah, the good old days.

Sarah now has two boys who are absolute monsters. They remind me of my own boys when they were little. Her husband is a very talented musician who has a fabulous job at Disneyland. The only problem is his hours that often take him away from home when the family is having a holiday party.

Leslie has four children; two who are a set of twins. Her husband has a very successful banking position. Leslie is one of those people who never, ever forgets a birthday, a holiday, or anything along those family lines. She sent me a white bathrobe and fancy slippers for Mother’s Day that are so soft they defy description.

My oldest son, Don, Jr. keeps busy in retirement; he’s the corresponding secretary to a nationwide coin collection group. His wife Earlene still works for a county and should retire soon. Son David and his wife Wendy are still both working at their jobs, both soon to retire. Dean is still fighting lawyers and doctors after his debilitating accident. He will never be able to work again.

Of course there’s Doug, who after retiring from two telephone companies and surviving his horrible illness, is trying to handle the heat and take care of the yard and me. He’s also helping his son Curt who is raising his son alone, and his daughter Lara who is handicapped and also raising her little daughter alone. However, it’s Danny, my youngest that I worry about the most.

Danny’s taking everyday care of his wife, who will be wheelchair bound for the rest of her life. All my children are living good productive lives. They are all wonderful, fine Christians. And this old lady sat in bed this morning, as the sun rose, thinking about how proud I am of my kids. It’s not a bad legacy, is it? Yes, it remains one heck of a ride!

Edna Van Leuven is a Churchill County writer and columnist. She may be reached at


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