Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Wick Fisher
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Good company

Wick's World

 

September 27, 2018



We were standing on a hilltop when I first realized how much I would miss her. She had been here almost five days and would be gone in a few more. We had just exited the St. Paul Cathedral, the one in St. Paul, Minnesota. Even the most avowed atheist had to feel at least a small touch of the holy after pondering the art and sacredness of this shrine to Christianity. But it was while standing outside when the first bell began to ring that a small touch from the holy went deeper inside.

My sister and I were standing side by side sharing the beauty of the moment. The large church bell began to ring. I looked at my watch and thought it must be telling us it was seven o’clock. But this was no timepiece. The Catholic Church measures time in terms of centuries, not hours. Then a second bell joined in followed by a third and fourth. Pretty soon I counted seven bells swinging to and fro. The brass choir sound as if it came from heaven itself.

My sister and I looked at each other as if we couldn’t believe what we were hearing. There was no wedding or funeral or even a mass going on. At least none that we were aware of. I felt as if the moment was a tribute to my sister and me for the joyous week we had in each other’s company.

Although we are now in our seventies, something was there that took us back to the old house in Chamberlain, South Dakota. We reminisced about living down by the stockyards and the railroad track. Ours was the last house on the street before you stepped into the Missouri River. That house would be gone soon. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had other plans for the Fisher family. Big Bend Dam was on the horizon waiting to tame the Mighty Mo. By 1954 they had bought us out and moved us a couple of blocks up Clemmer Street. I began my new life as a 10-year-old setting pins at the nearby bowling alley. My sister would soon be a teenager and begin a life that saw us go our own ways for the next six decades.

Mom and Dad have been gone for a while now. Then my sister’s husband of 60 years died. Shortly thereafter, I went down to the oil fields of dusty, windblown west Texas and stayed with her for two weeks. It wasn’t because she was alone. She had her husband’s side of the family surrounding her with love and grandchildren. She had Tater her dog. But now she had her little brother. We were the remnants of the Fisher family of four that grew up in Chamberlain and then left in the 60s to go out and make our mark on the world. We both did this in a big, albeit our own very different, ways.

She had lived a very full life as had I. For this past week we had the privilege of sharing our lives with each other. We had boxes of pictures we looked through while we tried to remember people, places and moments. But the most special moments were now as we cruised quietly down the Mississippi River in a solar powered boat. For an instant there, we were back home on the Missouri River water skiing in tandem. We had practiced for years skiing together and made a rather talented duo.

Later, we sat atop Stella’s Oyster Bar in Uptown and watched the sunset. In a few days she would be gone. She’s going home to Tater and her Texas family to live out her remaining years. By next year, I will be living another phase of life in San Diego. I’ll be living by my two sons in San Diego and close to the third son in nearby Phoenix.

My sister and I have already made plans to meet up in Phoenix or San Diego someday. She knows I’ll be in West Texas at the drop of a cowboy hat when she needs me. That’s what families do … Even when it’s down the last two of you. Somehow, I think Mom and Dad had just as good a week as my sister and I.

 

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