Funeral at St. John's

Alma Kyllander's funeral was held at St. John's Church just down the road from the nursery. Brother Joe and I sang. The church isn't as old as many around here--I believe they put up the present building in the early 1960s--but it is no less beautiful than any old church.

I have sung there for a couple of funerals in the past, and at each one, the rear double doors were thrown open and I could see out across the fields while singing, which is sort of a unique experience. It takes away any nervousness. You are singing to the corn, with people in the foreground.

Afterwards, lunch in the basement. A woman approached me who lives in Denver. She reads my column, and had always wanted to tell me a story about my grandparents.

About thirty years ago, the woman worked at the counter for United Airlines in Fargo. One day her boss threw an envelope on the desk in front of her and said, "see what you think we should do with this."

The envelope was addressed simply: United Airlines, Fargo North Dakota. Inside were two tickets made out for Melvin and Olga Bergeson, my grandparents. No note, nothing.

Well, this woman, despite being from Alabama, had become an avid reader of her husband's hometown newspaper, the Twin Valley Times. She read everything, including the gossip columns. And from one of the gossip columns, she remembered that Mrs. Melvin Bergeson had been in the hospital.

The woman immediately said, "Oh, I know them. She was sick, so they couldn't take the trip." Her boss was utterly mystified, even more so when she said she had read of Grandma's illness in the newspaper.

Using the article as evidence of illness, the woman got Grandma and Grandpa a complete refund for the unused ticket.

AFTER the funeral, I went in to the Fertile Hilton to play piano. Afterwards, Aunt Olla wanted to go out for coffee, so we went uptown. She had a $9 check to cash at the bank, which she had already earmarked for vitamins, so we had business to conduct as well.

At the cafe, we ran into several people Olla knew, and one she didn't. The two proceeded to launch off in one of those peculiar conversations that only two people who are hard of hearing can conduct--where each person thinks the other is talking about something different and they keep alternating as if they are actually conversing, but in fact they are both giving monologues on topics unrelated to each other.

For the first few minutes, this can be entertaining. After fifteen minutes, I felt the need to intervene to break the cycle. Olla was carrying on about how Fertile is just such a wonderful place while the other woman was expostulating upon how children these days are just out of control.

"People here are just so wonderful, so kind."

"Well they're too kind! Kids get by with anything!"

"Oh, I know, isn't it great? I just love it here."

"We used to have rules when we were kids!"

"Oh, I know. I've never had more fun!"

And on and on. Two ships passing in the cafe.

Of course, the bigger issue was that Olla was out of vitamins and herbal supplements, and she's really started to go downhill in a hurry. If she's going to get everything done she wants to do before she dies, she's going to have to at least keep taking her vitamins through September.

To stave off further decline, she decided it would be best if I ordered the vitamins off the internet and put them on my credit card. They aren't cheap, of course, but she's planning to pay me off in installments--which, curiously, stretch way past September.

Probably not a good business decision, but I agreed to it and ordered some seaweed and other goodies from this evening.