January 26th, 2024 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. Her family also referred to him as Grandpa Bill. Maxine and Dad never lived together, but they ended up living a few floors apart 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 set out to clean his room.

One of the items in the corner 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 into the curio.

A few years later my daughter bought the house from me. Every summer Kerry and her mother would have a garage sale. It happened again to Marcia while she was helping my daughter gather items for the garage sale.  After that I decided to dig a hole next to my Dad’s grave at Gethsemane Church in Upsala and bury the “egg” before there was nothing left of Maxine. 

“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

Comments are closed.