November 17th, 2023 by Gary Osberg

In 1998 Dad moved from his high-rise apartment in downtown St. Paul to my house in Upsala. He had been a city fellow for most of his adult life, but he was raised in Upsala. I was working in Minneapolis as a sales manager with the Xerox agency Albinson and I was gone most of the week. It wasn’t much of an inconvenience to have him there. His passion was cooking, however I told him in no uncertain terms that I hated the smell of fried foods, and I did not eat leftovers.

In July of 1999 Albinson and Xerox parted their ways and they no longer needed a sales manager. I spent the summer painting old buildings and garages in the Upsala area and started working for Minnesota Public Radio in October of that year. If I did not leave a post-it-note on the counter in the morning that said, “NO SUPPER”, there would be a home cooked meal on the table when I arrived home. The food was awesome. The baked potatoes were done in a very special way. He boiled them for 10 minutes first and then baked them for one hour at 400 degrees.

As Dad struggled with old age and cancer, sometimes the quality of the supper was not up to his usual standards. Also, many times the smell of burnt food or worse, burnt plastic, from the tea pot handle, would greet me as I came in the back door. He liked to take naps and he burned three tea pots, with plastic handles, in the last six months. It got so that the only time I did not leave out the post-it-note, “NO SUPPER”, was on Fridays.

On Friday November 18, 2004, I came home, and he greeted me with, “I have to go to the hospital, but you can eat first. Your supper is in the oven”.  I responded, “No way, we will go now!”  I put on the oven mitts and grabbed the baked potatoes and the dish of meatballs from the oven and shoved them in the frig and we drove to the VA in Minneapolis.

That was Dad’s “Last supper”, he never did come home. That weekend I ate the leftover meatball supper. It was a very tasty meal.

“There is something in every one of you that waits and listens for the sound of the genuine in yourself.”  Howard Thurman

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