Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A tribue to Ellen Moore

Yesterday I helped my sister officiate at the funeral service of Ellen Moore in Estherville, Iowa. Ellen passed away last Thursday in rural Ringsted, Iowa. Ellen was the wife of my Dad’s brother Gene.

Her health had been declining, so I wasn’t surprised when my sister called me last Thursday to share the news about Ellen’s passing.

Ellen lived most of her life on farms in northwest Iowa. I have many memories of going to her and Gene's farm in rural Wallingford, Iowa. Her sons Rodney and Roger, my other cousins and I usually did something memorable on the farm. One time Rodney, Roger and I got stuck in the mud outside the barn on their farm. It was a spring day and the mud went up to our hips. We finally extricated ourselves from the muck and walked back to Ellen and Gene’s farm house. We were so filthy that Ellen had us strip off our clothes and then had us hosed down with a garden hose outside the house.

She was an excellent cook and gardener. My sister shared yesterday during the Funeral how she looked forward to the raisin, crème pies that Ellen baked for the Moore family gatherings. She had a huge garden on the Wallingford farm. She would can their vegetables and had a large assortment in their basement.

A few years back I spent a couple days with Ellen when her husband Gene was at St. Mary’s hospital. Amy, Hannah, and I hosted her for a dinner at our home in Rochester. She loved sharing stories about living on the farm and shared many that evening.

Ellen’s burial was at High Lake Cemetery. I shared the traditional reading from Ecclesiastes—“for everything there is a season …” Standing on the rich earth of northwest Iowa, surrounded by lakes that were brimming from the recent snow melt, cooled by the fresh wind of mid-March, I felt connected to the land. We were in the midst of agricultural people—folk who in their bones know about the seasons. Their lives are an illustration of the Ecclesiastes reading.

As my sister said a final prayer at the cemetery two Canadian Honkers ascended high into the sky. I’m guessing the two were a couple—Canadian Honkers mate for life. After the prayer we gave hugs to Ellen’s life-long mate. This strong bear of a man shed many tears. His life-long mate has flown away.

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