Friday, January 25, 2008

A Reader's Obituary

There's some kind of upper-respiratory bug going around Houston and knocking people on their butts for what seems forever. It finally chased me down three or four days ago and I've been struggling to get through a day's work and not crash into bed immediately upon reaching home every evening. I'm still reading, though at about fifty percent my normal rate, but putting a coherent thought into writing has become more and more difficult every hour, thus my lack of response to your recent comments and my overall neglect of Book Chase.

Maybe it's because I feel so terrible that this obituary from the Chicago Tribune caught my eye. Whatever the reason, I absolutely love the way that Mary Jane McNamee's obit leads off with a tribute to her love of reading.
With 12 children to raise, Mary Jane McNamee, an avid reader, grabbed moments for herself wherever she could.

In the morning, her children would awake to find her already up, curled in a chair with a cigarette, a soda and a book. After dinner, she'd prop up a novel behind the sink to fill her mind while her hands were busy with a sky-high pile of dishes.

At no time did she seem overburdened by her plus-sized brood.

"She was fascinated by all her kids," said her son Tom, a columnist with the Chicago Sun-Times.
As heavy duty readers, I think that we will all agree that this is a beautiful final tribute to a loved one.

14 comments:

  1. It is indeed.

    Hopefully your cold won't require one! Feel better soon. It seems to be making the rounds.

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  2. This thing is starting to make me wish I were dead, Carrie...I hate being sick like this.

    It's been interesting to hear what the various doctors around town are doing to treat this. I know several people who have it and the treatments are all over the map...medicine as guess work...that's encouraging.

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  3. I have just recovered from what sounds like a very similar chest virus - it wiped me out for two whole weeks, really, really ghastly. You have all my sympathies. All I could do was drink lots of fluids - including a hot toddy of whiskey, honey and lemon now and then, take ibuprofen and just wait for it to pass. My doctor here in London said that antibiotics were pointless - and I am not that keen on taking them unless it is really essential anyway. The killer was coughing at night which meant broken sleep - I was like a zombie.
    I wish you well, and send healing vibes through the blogosphere!

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  4. What a wonderful obituary! I hope you are feeling better, although my husband and I had something similar back in December, and it hung on way too long!

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  5. I hope you're better soon, Sam! Please get lots of rest and drink...well, you know the drill.

    Thanks for the obit. I'd never thought of propping the book behind the sink while doing dishes!

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  6. I like the obit. I aspire to be Mary Jane McNamee, w/o the cigarette, fascinated by each of my children and reading every chance I get.

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  7. Herschelian, I tend to believe that this is viral and that antibiotics wouldn't help, too. I'm in my fifth or sixth day of it and have felt a little better at times today but knowing that I have to struggle to get through another week's work while feeling this way is a bit discouraging. I'm having exactly the problems you described when it comes to getting any rest at night.

    Thanks so much for the healing vibes you're sending this way. :-)

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  8. Robin, that's my main complaint about this illness...it just seems to go on and on and on. Feeling bad is one thing, not seeing an end to it is a completely other, worse thing.

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  9. Bybee, glad to see you picked up a little book-reading tip from the obituary...I thought that was kind of clever, myself.

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  10. Oh my gosh -- I love that! That is so nice in comparison to the boring, often trite obits seen on a daily basis. I know I'm strange, but I always find myself wondering about people that I don't even know when reading an obit. What were they really like? What were their passions? Note to self, tell husband what to put in my obit. Thanks for sharing this, and I hope you're 100% soon.

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  11. I agree, Lisa...it was nice to read an obituary that gave me a feel for the real person rather than just seeing a list of relatives and jobs the person held during a lifetime.

    Maybe we should all outline our obits and leave the outlines in a place where they will be sure to be found shortly after we "earn" them. :-)

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  12. Hi! I was just going through things on the computer=couldn't sleep. I wanted to thank Lisa for her comments on my mother's obituary. Just part of it is printed here. My mom was indeed very special. I miss her more than I can say. She raised bright inquisitive children who love to read. Even when there was little money there were always boks (hundreds of books) in our house.

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  13. Thanks for stopping by, Anonymous. Your mother sounds like a remarkable lady and I'm sure you were left with wonderful memories. I know that you miss her.

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