I’m sitting here today watching the play of sun and clouds on the hillside across the way. It’s not a pretty area but sometimes – as now – it’s stunningly beautiful. On this warm winter day I ponder springlike thoughts of renewal and resurrection. I’m actually reminded of Easter.
My brother-in-law, Bill Reece, passed on Friday, February 6, at the age of 89. He had been in declining health for several years. I suppose we can’t say his passing was unexpected, but neither did we know that Friday would be the day.
|Kathy with Bill and Harriet, 1953|
I just can’t let Bill go without remembering the good he brought our way. Fact is, I was not yet four the summer that Harriet and Bill were married, which means I really don’t remember when Bill wasn’t a member of the extended Walrath / Portfors / Dobson family.
It might be said that as Bill ambled along through life, he solved problems in simple ways. Together with Harriet, he took my parents on trips, drove my uncle to doctor’s appointments, called on the sick. My mother was never ready for the Christmas Eve reunion, and Bill and Harriet would show up early to vacuum (and maybe stash some clutter). Bill loved children – and they loved him back. And there were jokes and pranks with the nieces and nephews -- what I call the cousin group. I was too old for that particular fun, and my children were too young, but one of my sons says he remembers Uncle Bill as always jovial. Uncle Bill always had a smile for him, he recalls.
Bill had general building skills, and he helped my dad remodel the bathrooms in our house. Let’s see – that must have been 1958 or so. It was a do-it-yourself project involving several do-it-yourselfers. As an aside – because I truly don’t remember who was there and who did what -- I recall that someone (possibly me) flushed the toilet in the upstairs bathroom before the plumbing was connected. Not being channeled through a pipe, the water was held in a pocket of wallpaper and paint on the ceiling of the room below (my dad’s studio) until, of course, that bubble broke. We heard the unmistakable sound -- a splash and then dripping water -- as we were eating supper. Mother’s crocheted white straw purse was obliterated in the deluge. Well -- it’s kinda funny now.
Anything I could say is just not enough. "Words are not adequate," as they say. It’s impossible to summarize in a few words what one person’s life means to the whole. We don't even know the whole of it. The generations just pass slowly, and that’s a good thing. KW