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Mom So many memories, so many March 3, 2014
So many memories my son.  I am finally getting to write our book, dedicated to your children.  When I brought you home and you had problems, you were such a fighter.  You didn't know it then but you were a very strong in your will to live.  I loved you so much and was happy at any accomlishment you made.  So you didn't walk until you were 1 1/2 yrs.  I sure wasn't worried about it.  But will never forget the day you started walking.  It was Easter Sunday, 1968.  You looked like a baby duck, but you were my little, big baby boy.  Thank you for all the memories.

May you memories never fade and may they become more and more joyful!

               JOSEPH WE LOVE YOU!

I want to share with you a story that will remind you to always allow yourself a safe amount of time to get to the airport and to never allow your children to become a valet.

I thought of this when I was remembering one of our trips to Laughlin.

Let me set the scene:  From Laughlin we had gone to Oatman on one of our day trips, you know those day trips that justified a Laughlin Weekend as a "family vacation."  Oatman is an Old Ghost Town with shops, saloons and about 100 donkeys that chase you for food.  Anyway the ghost and the donkeys had ran away once they seen us coming, all the shopping was had and ALL the saloons had been visited.  So we had to head back to Laughlin, in a hurry, because Liz had a flight to catch.   Knowing that when aggressive driving is needed, Joseph is the man, I told Joseph he could drive and I would sit in the back of the van, you know the part where the luggage is stored, because there were more of us than seats.  Joseph said no, he would give up a seat and sit, lie and scrunch in the back.

We were all loaded into the vehicle and heading back to Laughlin (Please don't attempt this near a Mexican Border.)  I am driving and my goal is to get us back in less than the needed 20 minutes.  The trip consists of about 20 miles, the first 10 miles being of up and down hills at an overall downhill angle.  Oh and you must be prepared at all times to come to a quick and complete stop because if you did not feed the donkeys they will meet you in the middle of the road.  Well as luck would have it the wind was following behind us so every time we hit a dip we would airborne and add some speed (remember we are in a hurry and no Al is not in the vehicle with us.)

After about our 3rd hill I hear some noises coming from the back (bang, slam and a voice that vaguely sounds like Joseph saying "Ver er er er   o O o nI cAA A A."  I'm thinking maybe my vehicle is hitting the ground to hard as we are coming down from those helpful winds that are taking us airborne.  I look into the rear view mirror and I see half of everyone, wide eyed, looking at me and the other half looking to the back of the van and all of a sudden I see Joseph’s right leg and then the back left side of his head.  I immediately focus back to the road just as we are coming to yet another hill and I decide it best to slow down and begin to hit the brake and thank goodness because just then in front of us, just feet away, was a donkey in the middle of the road so we must come to a complete stop in seconds (I recognize this donkey, it is the one Joseph would not feed.  You know what they say about payback.)  At that moment I looked into the review mirror and this time I swear the only face I seen was Josephs and it appeared to be right next to mine.  But, no it couldn't have been, I blinked (out of fear, for my life, not Josephs) and again I looked into the rear view mirror and Joseph was all the way in the back and this time I seen only his left arm, right leg and I think his chest.  And as a reflex of fear, of Joseph, I hit the accelerator thinking I could get away from him.  I was right, the speed seemed to have gravitated his body to the very back of the van, he had no chance of getting to me.

I have now determined myself not to look into the review mirror, but to just concentrate on getting us back to Laughlin on time.  I was given a task and I was going complete that task.  At this time I am convinced, that when able, Joseph will have a thing or two to say about my driving.  So I very much need the come back "I got us there on time!  What more do you want?" I looked at the clock and am very pleased with myself, because we have made it through the 10 miles of hills in just 4 minutes flat; I have already saved us 6 minutes.  Even Joseph would have to be proud of that.

We are now on flat ground and driving at a more reasonable speed (I have not had a speeding ticket in 20 years and don't intend on getting one now.)  After what had seemed to have been an hour, was really only a minute, of silence. Then Yvette, bravely spoke up and asked "Joseph, are you okay?" and Joseph replied something like "What do you think Bertha, would you like to have your left leg and your right elbow stuck in your  @#%@## at the same time?"

So, now you know why you should always leave to the airport with a safe amount of time.  Let me continue the story and you will find out why you never want your children to become a valet

Once everyone heard Josephs reply we all knew he was okay.  After all, we are talking about Joseph!  So now everyone breaks into laughter, a laughter that hurts your belly and makes you cry.  Well, everyone and anyone who has ever laughed with me knows that I cannot laugh without having a restroom nearby.  We had about 8 minutes left to get to the Hotel, so I knew I must not begin laughing, not yet.  This will not be easy everyone who knows me knows I cannot go without laughing if everyone else is laughing.  Unfortunately, everyone knows that a family gathering is not a good family gathering unless someone goes down and you will do everything it takes to make sure it is not you but someone else.  A chill suddenly ran down my spine, a chill I was familiar with, a chill I recognized, I had just become that someone else.  Opportunity had reared its ugly face.  Everyone begins retelling the version of Joseph flying around the back of the van, until I could no longer hold my laughter.  Did I mention this is a brand new van I’m driving.  I am determined that I will make it to the Hotel in the next 60 seconds.  I have never asked anyone, but I must show my anguish, humiliation and fear when I am at the point of desperately trying not to relieve myself while I am still outside of the restroom.  Because at this point it was like everyone was chanting their stories directly at me.  I was still hopeful that I would make to the Hotel, we were now only a block away, I could see the $1.99 Prime Rib sign.  My worst fear a red light.  All hope was gone.  My fear, anguish and humiliation were now a reality, a wet reality.  I looked in the review mirror and seen Joseph with a big smile, that somehow said "You know what they say about payback!"

I am sure at this point you are asking "What about the valet?"  Well, I have been humiliated enough I am not about to park in the garage and walk a mile to the hotel in wet pants.  Without a word, I parked in front of the hotel door nearest to the room, existed the vehicle, leaving my keys in the ignition, of course no one with me was about to park the vehicle.  So a valet eager to earn his tip, DID.

P.S.  Liz made it to the airport on time.

I would like to share a memory of December 1994.  Joseph had come home from one of the Transplant Network Meetings and said they were having a Christmas Dinner.  They were told that they could bring a spouse, a parent for those not married, they pointed out Joseph and said "Joseph, you could bring your mother" and Joseph replied with "Can I bring two mothers?"  And so he did, he took Freda and I to the Christmas dinner which was held in Ripon.  Freda became very special to Joseph and Freda felt the same way.  I will never forget when she would hug him and lean her head on his chest. I'm sure it was a way to feel her son's heart beating and know that her lost was not all in vain.  For those who do not know, Freda was Thomas' mother.  We grew close to her and she was very special in our lives and I was able to share my son with her.
Jeff (uncle)

One day the trophy shop you were building trophies, on one particular marble base you were having trouble putting the nut on the rod, you changed rod's 3 times, you changed nut's 4 times and it still would not work. Finally you figured it out it was the marble base, so you flung it accross the workshop about 20 feet @ 97 mph right into the wall and it stuck like half way in. It look look like something right out of a 3 Stooges episode. Needless to say we laughed until we cried. That was just one of 100's of fond memories you left me to cherish. I know we will be able to do it again soon enough. I love man for being you, you are truly on of my hero's.

Total Memories: 4
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