Archive for March, 2009

Edie was buried today


Edie RobisonEdie Robison, 86, died peacefully on February 18, 2009. Edie was an Air Force widow, a Navy Veteran, and active in several Veterans Groups in Austin including the VFW Auxiliary Post 3377, the DAV Post 219, and the American Legion Post 83. She was also active in Central Texas Carvers, the Texas Woodcarvers Association, music, tatting and knitting. She went back to college at St. Edwards where she finished her B.A. and M.A. and later she attended the LAMP program at UT. She had many friends in Austin and around the world. She is survived by her daughter, Patti; and her grandsons, Robert, Harry and James. She will be buried in Arlington Cemetery on March 19, 2009 and a memorial service will be held in Austin at the VFW in April. In lieu of flowers please make donations in memory of Edie to your favorite charity or to one of her favorite charities the Tiger Creek Wildlife Refuge 17552 FM, Tyler, TX 75706. For further information please contact the Joseph Nardone Funeral Home at 914-737-1363.


Edie was one of the best friends I ever had.  She was a true wild woman, who lived all over the world.  She said to me soon after we first met “You’re a character aren’t you? Like me,  I only like characters,  whats the point in being boring.”

People like us need each other it didn’t matter that we were nearly  60 years apart in age.  Those of us who can’t keep our mouths quiet,  or dampen our views because they don’t fit with the general public,  those of us who never “fit in” but never tried, we need each other. 

Once I went with her on a weekend trip to a dulcimer jam,  she drove and blared bluegrass music,  we got pulled over by a cop because she was speeding.  The cop came to the window and she yelled “Dear god!  You scared the hell out me! We were just listening to bluegrass I didn’t even notice you!”  She proceeded to charm herself out of a ticket as this Officer laughed at her honest talk and his face lit up.   Have you ever seen an 80 year old woman do that,  I can’t even get out of tickets anymore and I am only 29.  At the dulcimer jam,  I ended up sleeping in the bathroom because Edie snored so loud.  The first night she came straight into the bathroom, not knowing I was there and scolded me for sleeping on the bathroom floor.  I tried to explain to her that she was snoring,  but she didn’t buy it. 🙂  She shamelessly kept inviting this lecherous old dulcimer player to dine with us.  He flirted with me in an uncomfortable way but bought our meals, Edie teased me for being our meal ticket.  I loved her.

She loved Art Bell and sometimes she would talk about the aliens and various other conspiracies the government was involved with.  Her energy was so enlivened,  not dark or foreboding.  She believed in aliens because it was exciting not because she was scared.  I never ceased to leave her house without a smile on my face.  I brought her flowers at times and she was so appreciative but then she’d send them home with me because she didn’t want to have to worry about watering them.

She was generous,  she offered me whatever she had.  When I was going through a particularly hard time in my life I spent many days of many weeks just watching television with her in her living room and eating at Art’s Rib House in south Austin.  Once she defiantly started saying she was going to ask her doctor for some marijuana for her pain,  she was talking loud and had glimmer in her eye,  I doubt she had ever smoked pot in her life,  but she liked to show that she was no old lady.  A young Austin hippie followed us out and told Edie he’d overheard her and would be happy to give her some of his stash if she thought it would help.  He wasn’t trying to sell it to her,  he just was so moved by her spirit he wanted to give it to her.  She refused,  but she was just that sort of person.  Besides I don’t think she would have liked it  she was too active.

Edie was buried today,  in Arlington,  I think that would have made her very proud.  I would love to attend her funeral in Austin,  I am sure there will be a great many characters there that all loved her equally and felt just as lucky as me to have found and become  friends with this wild woman.  Her daughter Patti asked me to write a little something for the funeral.  Here it is,  I was just trying to show what she meant to me.

When I was 17 I bought a dulcimer,  I didn’t know how to play it but thought I could surely find a teacher in Austin.  I was eating lunch at Kirby Lane one day and saw a note card pinned to the bulletin board that was handwritten and said “”Dulcimer Lessons.”  I jotted down the number and called it when  got home. Edie answered the phone.  She was easy to talk to and had a wry sort of laughed that I loved.  She asked me if my last name was Swedish and I told her I was Norwegian and she snickered as she said, “good, I married a damn Swede.” 
I arrived at her house sometime a few days later, I was a teenager with a dulcimer entering the house of a 73 year  old woman who would later become one of my dearest friends. At the end of my lesson she refused to take the 15 dollars she was charging and said I should just come back every week and play with her. Our visits became quite frequent, even as I grew and came into my 20’s when most young adults were at parties or with friends their own age,  I was often with Edie.
From first meeting her I was so taken with the spirit of this woman who at 73 was more active than many people my age.  She was so engaged in learning.  She had  many instruments she was learning; recorders, ukuleles, dulcimers, auto harps, then there was knitting and tatting, and later woodcarving.  It was an incredible lesson to me about the importance of learning.  Some of the activities she engaged in she had no intention of mastering, it seemed it was the mere act of trying that kept her going.  I think that was one of the many things that set her apart,  it was the thing that made her such a strong and alive person.  In her eighties, with a troubled heart and constant pain in her back she was still on the move, going to guild meetings and weekend music jams, refusing to take the pain killers the doctors prescribed for her back because they made her sedentary and unable to drive.  
She was also so willing to share her opinion, a trait I wondered if she developed in her later years or one she had her whole life.  She scared one of my first boyfriends sternly telling him that he should be in college.  And coddled the man who became my husband,  I think mostly because she could beat him at cribbage.  People liked to think of her as my adopted grandmother, but she was more than that, she was one of my best friends.  Our age was irrelevant in our affection for each other.  I count my blessings that I was able to spend so much of my young adult years with Edie,  I know she will be missed by not only me, but by so many of the other people who were moved and entertained by this character of a woman.  And as my life progresses I can only hope that I can follow the example set by Edie about how to really live,  how to use every available day,  and how to bravely speak my mind.
I love you Edie,  thank you for so much!

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I’m am back with a cell card attached to the laptop. As it turned out there were no viable internet options for our house, so it took some time to work out an option that would work.

There is much to tell,  over the last couple of monthes that I have been absent.  We have moved officially onto our land and into our house although there are still many small projects on the inside that are waiting to be done.  The Pacific Northwest has experienced its 7th snowiest winter in recorded history.  The mayor of this small town who has lived here since the 30’s said she had never seen so much snow.  For the last three weeks I have been taunted with receding snow patches that reveal the grass and warm days followed by days of light snow that reblanket the ground with white.  Then the snow begins to melt away and the weather warms, and the again more snow.  Its only hard because I am so anxious to begin work on the outside of the house.  There is an acre of blackberry bushes to remove.  Piles of trash hidden amongst them from the previous owners to be discarded and a goat paddock to fence and goats to buy. 


Dylan spent a brave day out in the most strange and varied weather yesterday repairing and rebuilding the rotted chicken coop on the land.  It hailed, snowed, sleeted, shone, and blew gusty winds on him.  But he insured that the four pretty ladies that we have brought into our family would have a nice warm and safe place to stay and lay.  For a man who has little experience working with tools or building the last few monthes have really given him a step up and he pieced together that coop with no problems at all.  I was very proud.

The biggest news of course is that I am pregnant for the first time.  I am now just about 13 weeks into it and grateful to be out of that first trimester.  I wasn’t plagued by throwing up but I sure felt awful, sick, nauseous, depressed, you name it.  My energy levels have started returning and I am noticing the first signs of a protruding belly.  I had written a blog post noting that I was hoping to conceive a new energy and a new head space on the solstice.  It seems that I took that literally and on our first “try” found myself gleefully pregnant. 

My sister spent the whole weekend with and it was so wonderful to get so much time with her.  We did lots of house work and she did more then her fair share of chores for me, which was so nice.  On Saturday we engaged our roots of Indian cooking and made an Indian feast of Cauliflower Kofta  with a tomato/piima sauce, whole wheat chapatis and cilantro/coconut/almond/yogurt chutney.  It was a process but it was sooo worth it.  We did a bit of spinning and troubleshooting with our wheels, went for walk up the Sauk river even though it rained/snowed on us and had fresh egg omelets from our new hens it the morning.  It was a wonderful weekend.

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