Saturday, February 4, 2017

Valborg's Centenary

If she hadn't died in 2003, my Mom—Valborg Gertrude Schaub—would have been 100 years old today. To frame that, the US was still two months away from entering World War I when she was born.

Do I feel badly that she didn't make it to triple digits? Nah. I had the sense 14 years ago that she was done, and wasn't interested in hanging around just for the sake of hanging around—which I respect. She'd had a full life and there are only so many times you can read Jean Auel and still pump yourself up for what amazing thing Ayla does next. Mom had reached the point where she lost interest in watered down scotch-on-the-rocks, and pushing the play-repeat button on life.

Mom was never that comfortable in the spotlight, but she was strong on the back benches and quietly competent: as the head of the household, as the first female president of the board of education, as the chairman of the Camp Fire Girl's Salt Creek Council candy drive (there was a time each year when we couldn't fit two cars in the garage because of all the candy cartons).

My Dad was a successful businessman and entrepreneur, but I owe my feel for administration and organization to Mom. Dad thought the world revolved around him; Mom knew it didn't. My Dad enjoyed eating out, but he didn't love food as Mom did. She'd wait until Dad was away on a business trip before bringing out salads garnished with white asparagus, or fresh beets steamed in butter. She'd gladly share a bucket of oysters with you but wouldn't even bother asking if anyone else wanted escargot or a wedge of ripe camembert. That woman could flat out eat.

This centenary is quietly being marked by all five of Val's children, all of whom (with partners in tow) plan to gather in San Antonio two months from now, where I'm confident that Val's spirit will be strongly evoked. Not just because we enjoy a shared ancestry, but because we enjoy the familial habits of eating, drinking, laughing, gaming, and storytelling upon which Schaub family ties have been founded and sustained.

I have every confidence, for example, that Alison and I will find a source of plump raw gulf oysters, which should go down well with a chilled bottle of gewürztraminer that Kyle will help ferret out of some rathskeller. Best of all, Susan and I will enjoy a long weekend of warmth, well before it arrives on the ore boats in Duluth. We'll get a sneak preview of what it's like to leave the windows up after sundown. It's been long months since we engaged in such risqué behavior in northern Minnesota, but it will come back to us.

There may even be rounds of ribbon sandwiches and Famous Wafers and whipped cream. Schaubber Jobber soul food.

1 comment:

Ann Shrader said...

I was thinking of her today!