Friday, September 18, 2009

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Remembering Adeline

Today we put Ron's mom to eternal rest with the Lord. It is my job to read the eulogy and I wanted to share with you what I wrote in memory.

Adeline “Addie” Ann Haag was born August 20, 1929, in Fredonia, ND to Daniel and Caroline Mouldenhauer. She was the youngest of 5 children and the only girl. Her brothers were Elmer, Bill, Clarence aka Nut-Nut, and Heinz. She spent her childhood in Fredonia.

On Sept. 19, 1947, she married Lawrence “Larry” Haag in Aberdeen, SD. After one year in Fredonia, they moved to Hansen, ID, where Larry worked as a farmhand. In 1954 they moved south of Hansen to a farm; three years later they moved to Eden to farm. In 1958, the purchased the home place in Heyburn where Larry farmed until his retirement in 1971 and lived the remainder of his life. Adeline owned the farm until 2006.

In the early 70s, they built the Haag’s Country Court and owned/operated it until the late 80s. She was employed by the State of Idaho as a potato inspector when she was not a homemaker and wife. Adeline was a member of the Congregational Church in Paul.

Adeline leaves behind 3 children: Richard and spouse Marsha, Carol and spouse Gary McConnell, and Ron and spouse Latisha as well as 7 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren. She was preceeded in death by her husband, Larry, her parents and her brothers.

While these are the factual bits of Adeline’s life, they are far from the most important or most memorable. This mother, grandma, and great-grandma

left us numerous memories, which we will always treasure; I’d like to share a few with you now.

Adeline’s life could be placed into four categories: a wife, mother and grandmother, a spunky woman, a great cook, and a Christian.

Let’s begin with the first category: wife, mother, and grandmother. Many say the Beaver Cleaver family did not exist in real life; however, Larry and Adeline Haag defied that myth. The fell in love, married, had children and stayed married – through good times and bad. Between the 2 of them, they had 10 years of education yet managed to build a successful life, raise 3 children, and touch the lives of more people than can be counted. She can boast of a marriage of 49 years to the same man and no divorces among her children or grandchildren.

Of course, the last point is an area of debate. Most of you know Adeline suffered from dementia in the last few years, leaving her to forget many of the details of recent years. Just after her heart attack a few years ago, Ron and our family were gathered around her hospital bed. She remembered Ron and her grandson Zeke but after Ron re-introduced her granddaughter Kaydawn, she glanced at me at the end of the bed. She asked Ron, “And who is that?” When he replied that I was his wife, she exclaimed with relief, “Oh thank goodness you got remarried!”

Family vacations consisted of fishing and camping or visiting her children and grandchildren, whether that was in Idaho or Oregon, California or Germany, Nebraska or Kansas. Her walls were covered with pictures of her children and grandchildren and she was quick to boast of how her oldest was in the Air Force, her daughter was married to a pastor, and her youngest was an outstanding wrestler and coach and the “inter-murial” director at a college.

Now, some of those pictures didn’t last long, though. When Carol brought Gary home to meet her parents, they took a picture of the young couple. When Gary returned to visit Adeline after his training in the military, he returned as a much slimmer and clean-shaven young man – not at all what Adeline saw in the picture. Not wanting to hurt the feelings of Carol’s new beau, Adeline slid the picture discreetly to Carol and told her to get rid of it so Gary wouldn’t know about the old boyfriend. What a surprise to Adeline when Carol told her that the man sitting with her that day WAS Gary!

She worked hard to teach strong morals and values in her children, even to the point of perhaps protecting them from the real world. One memory Carol likes to share about this fact is how Carol learned what the meaning of the middle finger really meant. As a freshman in high school, she saw several times in the hall how other kids her age expressed their anger towards another. They would argue and invariably flash the middle finger. Carol didn’t know what it meant, but it always happened when someone was angry. Well, one day she was angry with her mother – very angry and decided the best way to show it was to give her the middle finger salute. Carol learned very quickly what that was the wrong thing to do!

Some of these stories could very easily fit into the next category but there are others that exemplify it better. Adeline was a spunky woman, not letting many things slow her down. Perhaps it was an innate need to go fast – but fast she did go. Her grandkids Mike and Angie liked to tease her that she was the little old lady from Pasadena! But the title fits because she liked to go fast, no matter what her mode of transportation was.

The last car Adeline owned was a Pontiac Bonneville SSEi. A pretty little silver sports car that had a strong engine in it that Adeline knew how to use. One of the last times she drove that car was when Rick and Ron moved her back to Nebraska. Just outside the hills of Lava Hot Springs, Rick let her climb in the driver’s seat. Ron was leading and she had let him get quite a bit ahead. When Rick said something to her about this, she gently accelerated to catch up. That car was smooth and before long her acceleration reached near 100 miles/hour and she didn’t even notice!

Even when she wasn’t speeding in her car, she was finding the fastest mode to get where she was going. When she was living with Carol and Gary in Oregon, she purchased a fold ‘n go motorized wheelchair. On the speed setting there was a picture of a turtle and a picture of a hare. I’m sure you can guess what setting she kept it on! Carol and Gary took her to an RV show and were soon embarrassed by her “need for speed.” She was taking people out left and right and would get to going so quickly she’d knock herself over! And it wasn’t just with Carol and Gary that she did this. One July 4th Rick and Ron took her to boot hill in Dodge City, KS. She zipped all over the little town at the highest speed. When she was left alone for any amount of time, she would find the spot in the walkway that was most uneven and tip herself over. But she had a need to get somewhere and get there fast!

She also set her grandchildren on the fast track. When her granddaughter Kaydawn was just barely crawling, she “taught her how to walk.” It was Christmas and she was holding Kaydawn on her lap in her wheelchair. Most everyone in the room was busy with different tasks so when Adeline had tired of holding Kaydawn, she promptly stood her next to her wheelchair and patted her forward. Kaydawn stumbled and was fortunately caught by her daddy.

She was also good at getting “lost.” If you asked her, she knew where she was going, but she left those with her in serious mental turmoil over “losing” her. Shortly after Larry passed away, Ron took her Las Vegas so the two of them could get away and relax. They spent the first night at Circus Circus but had to change motels the second night. Knowing it would be easier to leave her in one spot close to the door and pick her up rather than have her walk, Ron left her with strict instructions to “stay put.” Of course, she got interested in the nickel slots and soon was moving from machine to machine. When Ron returned, she was nowhere in sight. It took nearly 3 hours to find her, all the while Ron was thinking how best to tell his siblings he’d “lost” their mother in Las Vegas and she was never to be seen again!

I, too, have a similar story. My husband Ron was selected as an official to do an NCAA Division II National Championship in Greeley, CO – quite an honor. The 3 of us all attended and my job was to get his mom to and from the gymnasium. Between sessions, she and I decided to go get a bite to eat. Because of the number of people attending, I wasn’t able to get a spot close to the door to park. I left her inside the door since it was snowing with strict instructions to “stay put.” When I returned, she was nowhere to be found! I began wondering just how I was going to tell Ron I’d lost his mom! Mind you, we weren’t yet married so this was a terrible predicament for me. I eventually find her. She had decided to walk to the car even though she had no idea where I’d parked since I’d dropped her off earlier that morning!

Adeline was also known for her cooking. Living most of her life in Idaho, there were always potatoes on the table in addition to her German dishes. One of those signature dishes was her Cream Gravy Strudelah. Her cellar was full of jars of jellies and jams as well as many other popular canned foods. At Christmas, she’d make taffy and other candies. She’s passed down recipes to her children for favorites like cream puffs and pheasant with sour cream gravy. If she wasn’t cooking, she always loved having a hamburger, especially at “Apple-eggs.”

And while Adeline is known for all of the things I just mentioned, it is the last that is the most important – her strong Christian faith. Adeline accepted Jesus Christ as her personal savior and lived her life instilling this belief of Christ in her family members. Her legacy is evident in even the youngest members of her family.

On Friday night when Ron told his children about Adeline’s death, he did so like this:

“I have some good news and some bad news about Grandma. The good news is that Grandma can walk again.” As he paused, both Kaydawn and Zeke cheered at the good news, so excited their prayers had come true.

Then he continued with, “But we won’t see Grandma walk until we’re with her in heaven because God healed her by taking her to heaven with him.” And as he paused again, his son cheered again because even as young as he is, he understands that she has eternal life in Christ. For you see, the Bible says, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Adeline lived her life exemplifying this statement. And the good news is, those of us who believe in Jesus Christ as our personal savior will see her again and we will walk with her again.