I knew I would one day read Freddie’s obit. Few are granted long-term cancer survival. Each of us went on with our own lives after high school – but I remember Jay Penney dragging me to a restaurant in Kalispell. Jay was one of those half-generation older friends and coworkers who help you grow into a capable adult. That day, because he was the type of man who shared friends, he had decided that Freddie and I needed to meet. She knew our introduction was coming, and briefly kept a straight face – finally explaining to him that we had known each other from grade school as she poured coffee. I’ve known two tremendously competent women who earned their livings as waitresses – and Freddie’s obit brought back good memories of Flo as well.
I don’t know how she convinced me that it was a good idea to head up Deep Creek to observe a beaver dam baptism. I do know that when our surreptitious observation failed, she was in the center seat of the pickup, encouraging more speed as I drove away. My junior year, I think. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
We met at Trego grade school. Christened Fredricka Louise Osler, she referred to her formal name as “Freddie and contraption.” I’ve always felt that, had Bobby enlisted her help instead of grabbing the jump rope and running, we would have succeeded in capturing the bear cub and moving it into the kitchen. Probably just as well we failed.
I recall that Freddie was walking along the highway with Alvin Rongholt when he was hit by a vehicle and died. My memory of Alvin is of a kid who showed me his parody of “The Ballad of the Green Berets” that morning, who left only an out-of-focus photo in the school yearbook. I guess he also left me an appreciation for parodies of Sergeant Sadler’s song, and a wish that people’s lives be remembered.
Obituaries that bring good memories are rare. Thanks for the memories.