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  • My early life was spent on a dairy farm in the U.P. of Michigan. It was an adventurous place: exploring various terrains, communing with various animals, both wild and domestic, and always learning things.

    My Grandpa Frank and my Grandma Mary were magicians on this farm. Their ways and abilities always awed and delighted me and my sisters. They could get us to do anything; willingly and diligently.

    In the summers, way up north, the sun stays out for a very long time; setting usually around 11:00 PM; which is really too late for little girls to be going to bed. My mom, Barb, was charged with the task of wrangling us all in, bathing us, getting us in our jammies, and getting us to bed. Well, she managed the first three things well enough, but her process for getting us to bed took a little longer.

    After the bath and jammies, she would pile we girls in the back seat of the family vehicle, and head towards the cemetery to visit our relatives there and take care of their flowers. The cemetery was about 10 miles from our home.

    On the way there, my mom would sings songs to us that made us giggle; songs like "The Big Rock Candy Mountain," and "Dangerous Dan McGrew."

    Once there, we would spring out of the car, go running through the cemetary in our bare feet, with the soft, cool grass beneath us, visiting all of the graves of everyone in our family; we knew them by heart.

    My mom set about her chores, watering and pruning the flowers. At times we would stop long enough to question her, like one time when I had almost forgot about Uncle John, way down under the pine tree all by himself. I yelled to my sisters, "Don't forget about Uncle John!" Then I stopped, turned towards my mom and asked, "Why is Uncle John all by himself, Mom?"

    She answered as she kept watering, "I suppose it's because Uncle John always lived away, all by himself."

    I grinned at remembering the story, replied, "Oh yes....with all the cats!" and skipped away down the cemetery to say hi to Uncle John.

    An hour or so later, mom would put us in the back seat for our journey home. No seat belts, bodies overlapping bodies, my sisters and I would listen to my mom sing us lullabies on the way home; songs like "I See the Moon" and "Puff the Magic Dragon." We would drift off to sleep, and my mother and father would carefully put each of us into bed when we got home.

    My mom did magic too.
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