Heavenly Days!

I lend no credence to visions of   heaven. They all differ, every one. I don’t question the integrity of the person having the vision, except frauds. We’ve had recent examples. What I question is their authenticity. They’re all different. Can the heaven be different for each person going there?

It really doesn’t matter—God’s ultimate destiny for us is not ours to shape. Heaven’s what, where, when, how are mysteries beyond human ken, as are all matters of infinity. The brain is not designed to grasp them. What then?

All who write fiction know how a story can take over. Take Johnson Junction. It’s been ages since I visited there, but its streets and people are as real to me as any rural town of my early pastoring years. I dreamed up the setting and story line then the story took over, coming up with stuff I never imagined.

Then the Vernon Valley Vigilantes. The setting: Ma’s Kaffe Stuga and the senior friends who gathered daily around its round oak table, quietly led by Miss Beth, sixth grade teacher and township clerk.  Every country home had a round table in the dining room, used mainly for Sunday dinner. Bigger crowd than expected? Add a leaf. I created the Stuga, table, and company of friends from happy memory. Then the story took over. Those old buzzards had adventures! I typed fast as I could and couldn’t wait for the next one.

If that never happened to you, my point about heaven scenarios is lost. But I’ve been there, done that dying thing. No golden street, crystal stream or long-gone friends; just an exhilarating anticipation. Check out www.lloydsstorytree.com, And She Wasn’t Laughing. Obviously, the dying didn’t take, but I‘ll never forget the experience.

We’ll talk more about visions of heaven.

Old Grandpa Lloyd




Don’t Fence Me In

One week away from a new life adventure.  What will Edgewood Vista bring? Whatever it turns out to be, of this I am sure: it won’t come by accident.

Ninety-six years taught me that. Every major life change in my life flowed out of an unplanned event. A boy’s magazine; a phone call at the service station; a casual visit to a St. Paul boys’ club; a blind date gone wrong; a winter walk up Wabasha Avenue; coffee break at a church conference; a denomination exec nagged by a writing assignment; a 20-minute gap between phone calls. Finally, a foot-dragging apartment manager who brought me to this moment chuck full of good memories and eager to see what comes next.

Remember that happy old song, Don’t Fence Me In? I’ll get my harmonica. Sing along, and stop by my place now and then to learn what’s going on.

Old Grandpa Lloyd

Afterword 3 Thirteen Days

Thirteen days to November 8, moving time. Today I ordered me a going-away gift. The Smithsonian Museum has published a replica of the historic Jefferson Bible. Jefferson said he considered himself a sect of one. Well, move over old buddy, so am I. Expect to hear more about the book and the sect.

The moving team is coming together, coordinated by Norma, the girl from 313. Tears still flow as I think about living so far from her. Is that normal for 96?

My sons are rallying as I face a hundred two bucks a month discretional spending. Living and health needs are fully covered; personal adventures, clothes, phone, equipment etc. are not. Norma will manage the bank account and meager cash reserve. Big-spender me will host meal guests at seven bucks a pop; twelve for holidays. Edgewood Vista will serve small groups in a private setting with advance notice. As Norma says, we’re incredibly wealthy, just a little cash poor.

The move will begin Friday morning at nine. Not much heavy stuff; lots of boxes. Wish to lend your back? I’m at 127 East Calvary Road in Woodland. We hope to be finished by noon.

Resident connections are already popping up. I expect my Afterword  to be fun.

Old Grandpa Lloyd

Afterword 2 Moving Time

Finally! I move to Edgewood Vista (EV) assisted living Nov. 8. We met Jim, 92, my next door companion, a Great Lakes big boat sailor. He hears poorly. Good! My midnight harmonica won’t bother him.

The resident handbook answers most of my questions. Looks like a fun place to live!

Norma Leskela remains my go-to in all matters. Feel free to call. Her phones: Landline: 218-464-5567; cell: 218-343-0189. I’ll send my number soon as I receive it. It will have call-back. I will forego a cell. My mail address: Edgewood Vista 419 2, 4195 Westberg Road, Hermantown MN 55811; 218-723-8905.

Heartfelt thanks to Dale for ferrying us here and there and tending to tasks in my apartment. Sally’s care grows increasingly demanding.


The Afterword: Journal of a Really Old Guy Part 1

The next phase of my long life is pending. The wheels of govmnt slowly grind on my move from Woodland Garden independent living to Edgewood Vista assisted living. I thought it might be interesting to journal the process.

I think of life as a book with a title, story, epilogue, and sometimes an afterword. Next comes About the Author. My life book begins it St. Luke’s Hospital, Duluth, Minnesota, on August 29, 1923. Chapters tick off: childhood, youth, college/seminary, marriage, career. In the final chapter, I kiss Elsie one last time, her lips are still warm. Then I guide the gurney bearing her body to the cremation van, followed by family and friends singing Amazing Grace.

The van drives away taking something within me with it. Elsie and I had spent 66 years together. We produced five kids and shared many adventures. On the last Sunday of 2,002 Elsie suffered a crippling accident. A long, painful good bye followed: five years at home, 16 months in Chris Jensen Hospice. Through those years Isaiah sustained us. Each day I would say, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace” and Elsie would reply, “Whose mind is stayed on thee.”

I sort of wrote The End at Elsie’s memorial service. I had never given thought to life alone. I expected to coast to my memorial service—I was 86. I could never imagined what the next decade would bring. Read about it at www.lloydsstorytree.com, And She Wasn’t Laughing. I see those years as an Epilogue.

Now, at 96, the Afterword begins. Assisted living calls my name, taking me from beloved Woodland Garden to Edgewood Vista. How long? What adventures? If the Afterword affords but a smidgeon of the joy Epilogue provided, I’ll shout Victory in Jesus all the way to the grave.

The journal of a really old guy will continue.

Old Grandpa Lloyd

Waiting Music

My move to assisted living remains hurry up and wait. We’ve finished the hurry part, but you can’t hurry the govmnt.

Friday we visited Edgewood Vista again and liked what we saw. My room waits. The Woodland Garden apartment is Spartan now; boxes abound. The kitchen functions for breakfast and the girl in 313 fixes supper at her place with leftovers for next day’s lunch. We spend two delightful hours together.

Back home, my computer keeps me in touch with the world. So I wait, fully confident. The Lord will put me where I should be and right on time. However, nights remain my nemesis, as they have has since my six years of caring for invalid Elsie. I migrate from bed to lounge chair to the kitchen for a snack. TV is blah and I weary of reading, so I listen to my few CDs on the player by my lounge chair.

Anyone have a stack of CDs gathering dust? Maybe you could help this nighthawk geezer. Old gospel is my forte with a list toward country, like Gaither stuff. I’m at Woodland Garden Apartments, 127 E Calvary Road Apt 301, Duluth MN 55803.

Thanks in advance, and keep me in your heart.

Old Grandpa Lloyd

Rich Little Poor Boy

Thanks for many kind responses to the Edge post. I’ll continue the Hole News and Facebook posts as long as my brain and fingers keep working.  Keeps me in touch.

Email is a more secure means of contact, allowing more extended exchanges: mattson dot lloyd1@gmail.com. You know what to do with mattson dot.

My sons will visit one by one with a minor gathering at home on the big day. We watch sadly as firstborn daughter drifts deeper into dementia.

How did my kids get so old? Elsie and I married young, ignorant, and poor. The war in Europe looked grim in 1942–I’ve told the story. Our plan didn’t work, but the Lord’s plan did. We remained cash poor all our 66 years, but we grew rich in family and experience and touched a few lives along the way. The fruit of those years continues to enrich me as friends who were kids when we met connect on Facebook.

The way was often hard; would I do it again? In a heartbeat. And now look at me! I live in a mansion with 62 bathrooms and have to clean only one.

Old Grandpa Lloyd

On the Edge

In ten days I turn 96. Let’s review what’s with me:

Balance is gone, keeping me close to home. I move leaning on Old Red, my four-wheeled horse. Falling is the foe. If I wind up in a wheelchair, they will boot me out of Woodland Garden.

I seldom leave the building save for an occasional social event and medical/dental appointment. Friends and STRIDE, our public handicap service, get me about. Love their power ramp. Getting in and out of a car is a pain, and car riding exasperates problems we need not discuss.

In a restaurant I pull Old Red to the table, never really comfortable, ever mindful of the two-hour rule. I pray a dawdler doesn’t occupy the geezer cell.

County-funded health aid and laundry/cleaning persons keep me afloat. Son-in-law Dale Rogers does chores I can’t handle. The building maintenance crew stands ready.

I can no longer attend church. Friends from near and far visit with me in my apartment, with sorties to 313 for refreshments, where Norma lives. She is my go-to person. She does the shopping. Her kind presence keeps me at Woodland Garden.  WE meet each night for two hours of TV and supper, the highlight of my day. Read And She Wasn’t Laughing to learn our story. www.lloydsstortreecom.

Though nights are long, my spirits remain high. I realize I sit on the edge of eligibility to live at Woodland Garden. I hope to sit here a long time.

Old Grandpa Lloyd

Playing the Back Nine

I’m reading Doug Manning’s Back Nine, a small book Joe Grove put me onto. The subtitle:  Life Beyond Retirement. The book likens life to golf. I take his word—golf wasn’t my thing. Manning wrote with a sharp pen. He was a life-long golfer, pastor-counselor, and writer. He specialized in on retirement and end-of-life issues.

Manning wrote Back Nine in his 80s as he lived out the counsel he had given to thousands. His life paralleled mine in many ways, past and present. My four sons are visiting during August, my birthday month. Ninety-six is generally considered old. No dramatic clan conflab–they are coming separately. Keith left last week; Dave comes next week, then Joel.

We talk easily about my move to assisted living someday then to great beyond and whatever comes between. We waste time on estate division—a few harmonicas and books.

I highly recommend The Back Nine to all who caring for aging parents or grandparents. Too many face related issue with little or no forethought. Manning’s book provides a common sense approach to the inevitable. Geezers should read it too. After all, we are part of the act. Manning points out ways we can make life easier for our caring kids.

Thanks, Joe, for the heads up.

Old Grandpa Lloyd

Thin As Onion Skin

Loser’s dilemma and apology: my copy/paste lost the source of this good piece, then I lost the original! But  I’ll break the rules and share this slightly-tightened version anyhow. He/she wrote:

This week I took a three-day writing retreat at the beach here in NC. The ocean is medicinal for me. It helps to quiet the noises in my head, the swirling worries, fears, obligations and bad news. I waited to head down until late in the day when most people had headed to their houses and hotel rooms. This usually allows me much of the beach to myself.

I stepped through the dunes with a backpack and canvas chair, fully expecting to see an expanse of open sand—and instead was greeted by a forty or fifty people stretched in a line from the dunes to the shoreline. I had stumbled upon a sea turtle hatching.

I found my place and knelt shoulder to shoulder with strangers, my head inches from the narrow trench volunteers had carved out. For nearly two hours there was no  movement. Suddenly, an infinitesimal shift in the sand, then another; dozens of tiny black shapes lit by the moon broke through and made their first awkward journey toward the ocean. Fifty strangers cheered until the last exhausted straggler reached the water. There were tears and hugs, high fives and applause.

I didn’t get much writing done; I didn’t get much alone time. This was better.

Religious people have often talked about thin places, moments when the wall between humanity and divinity is like onion-skin. This small patch of sand and water and moonlight was that transparent: a holy moment, sacred, a clearing in the cloudy.

Without a hymn, prayer, pew or minister, God was present and close. It was a “religious” experience. I hope you get surprised by beauty this week, have your plans changed enough to get what you need. I hope you see something that clears the cloudy.

Thanks, whoever wrote this.

Old Grandpa Lloyd