May 7th, 2021 by Gary Osberg

Many years ago my Dad went to work as a dishwasher at Little Sisters of the Poor in St. Paul. His boss was a woman named Maxine. They became real good friends and her family referred to him as Grandpa Bill. Maxine and Dad never lived together, but they ended up living in the same high rise apartment building next to St. Paul Ramsey Hospital on University Avenue. When Maxine died, I attended the funeral and Dad surprised me by asking me to sing “The Lord’s Prayer” and “Amazing Grace” during the service. There was no piano, so I had to sing “a Capella”. It was ok.

One of the pieces of furniture that Dad brought with him when he moved into my house in Upsala was a corner unit with glass shelves and a glass door that had belonged to Maxine. Her family had given it to him. After Dad passed in 2005, I had to clean out his room. One of the items in the cabinet was a small green egg with silver decorations and a seam abound the middle. I was curious to see what treasure was inside, but when I pried it open, expecting to find a doll, what came out were ashes!

“OH MY GOD! IT WAS MAXINE”. I spilled a little in my haste to put it back together and I quickly put it back in the curio.

A few years later, it happened again to someone that was helping me to clean house.  After that I decided to dig a hole next to my Dad’s grave at Gethsemane Lutheran in Upsala and bury the “egg”. 

“Tell me, what else should I have done?  Doesn’t everything die at last and too soon?  Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”  From The Summer Day by Mary Oliver

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