Dana Rabe, To RKN, on the Occasion of your 85th Birthday

I am writing to honour this momentous date.  85 years?!? They contain so much life and history.  Although, in all honesty, I should have written before.  I have thought about it multiple times.  Last May would have been appropriate or the preceding October, but procrastination is the watchword.  I know that is such a shocker, given all the nights before my calculus class that I got to your place just before Leno started and still had some finishing touches to put on homework for other classes before the next day.  However, you two always ensured that I had a bellyful of oatmeal in the mornings and made it to class early.

Anywho, I should update you on some things.  I did it.  I got my masters degree, in another country, with all requirements completed before my thirtieth (personal goal, that).  As much as I wanted it, I may have never done it if it wasn’t for you.  In undergrad you were instrumental in making some possibilities realities that spurred me down this path.  And I knew I had your support so that helped too. I had such a wonderful experience and made so many friends that I miss dearly and mean so much to me.

All of them aided me in different ways to make it through and maintain focus that October, one especially was a shoulder on that day, and all the time thereafter.  Sorry I missed the original service, but I was under orders to stay put.  I’ll be honest that it was a genuine fear I had before I left so I hope that hug was tight enough to sustain us both.  I have a deep desire to believe you are proud of what I was able to accomplish by staying where I was.  For my dissertation and another project I wrote about your Uncle Herbert.  I am sure by now you know the answer to that particular mystery, I only took stabs at it.  And I have been encouraged by others to write more on the subject so that is penciled in for a future project.

Enough about me, this is meant to be about how everyone else is doing.  Although you probably already know more than me through your local branch of LNN.  All your girls are doing well and Grandma too.  One is enjoying being a grandmother very much, one is anticipating it, and the other is preparing for another child’s wedding, this time from the opposite side of the aisle.  Your youngest great-grandchild is adorable and up to the challenge of being the youngest of that set of three.  Although her title of youngest great-grand is about to be usurped.  There is a Baby Rabe heading for a summer birthday.  Anticipated in July but may share its daddy’s birth month.  Happiness is the emotion for everybody on that subject.  My brother is super excited.  Your youngest grandchild’s graduation and commissioning happened recently, and went well.  He is now a full-fledged second lieutenant in the US Army.  I cannot believe he is that old but then again I cannot really believe that I am going to be an aunt here soon.  Also, his girlfriend is lovely and he introduced her to Grandma last fall.

Time flies in the weirdest ways or so it seems to me.  I blinked and everyone grew up.  I blinked and you were elsewhere.  It has been startlingly odd to be at family events lately and see her without you.  She has adjusted well, probably better than me at times.  Have you heard about her loss in domino’s to one of your grandsons-in-law last month?  He kept complaining about “Nebraska Rules” but still managed to beat her by about two points.

It was a wonderful night after the bridal shower was thrown by the Awesome Aunts.  Logan was the only of your great-grandchildren present but he still kept us all hopping at the cabin.  He really wanted to play on the spiral-staircase so we all kept an eye on that.  Hard to believe he will be three in August.  He was my dominoes buddy a few times.  We will teach him young.

I guess what I really wanted to tell you through this letter is that you are loved and missed.  We all see facets of you in different things.  None of us would be quite the same without the gift of time with you.  I for one am thankful for those eighty-three-and-a-half years we had you.

Happy birthday, Rodney Keith Nelson. Share our love with Uncle Pugs.


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