January 28th, 2012

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#506 – Dick Bernard: Another Circle, Broken, towards Reunion

Saturday, January 28th, 2012

This morning, in Las Vegas NV, there will be a celebration of the life of my cousin Patricia (Pat), who passed away, cancer, on January 25 at age 61. Far too young, but this is how life goes…one of the two certainties we all share: we enter, we leave….

It was not my privilege to know Pat very well. Our shared family of origin is a large and far-flung bunch and we wander into each others lives on infrequent occasions. So, the last time I saw Pat, and then only casually, was when her mother, my Aunt Mary, was celebrated on the occasion of her death in May, 2003.

Pat was part of a farm family in northeastern North Dakota, not far from Langdon – Dresden and Wales are the local names I remember. They lived not far from Canada. They went to country school, all of them, and I believe their mother was the school marm all their years in elementary school. Thence the seven siblings, all cousins of mine, went off, as most all of us do, to make their ways in the world, here and there.

Every family, every person, brings with them certain abilities and disabilities.

In Pat’s family, there was a love of music.

So, when we had our big family reunion in July, 1993, brother Carl played Grandpa Busch’s fiddle, and marvelously so.

And when they bade farewell to their Mom at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Fargo in May, 2003, the siblings were the choir, and a marvelous one.

In 2008 this family with country roots decided to put together a CD entitled “The Brehmer Family Sings Christmas Memories”, including 17 Christmas songs. Along with the CD came a small book in which each of the seven shared some Christmas memory of their own.

Here is Pat’s page: (click to enlarge).

From the booklet, "The Brehmer Family Sings Christmas Memories" 2008

I doubt that the CD is available any more, but I’d hope that someone will post one or two of the cuts on YouTube in memory of Pat. It is a marvelous testimony to a family, together.

I can’t help but humming the 1934 classic A. P. Carter/Carter family “Can the Circle be Unbroken” as I think of the Brehmer family as it bids farewell to Patricia today.

Peace, good memories and have a good day.

(Here’s a wonderful rendition of Circle, found on YouTube.)

UPDATE: from my sister and Pat’s cousin, Florence: In 2005 their first CD “The Brehmer Family Sing Their Favorite Hymns” came out. It was inspired by singing at Aunt Mary’s funeral. The siblings shared their musical memories.

Pat’s reads:

“I’ve always loved being able to hear harmony. I remember singing in the car to and from town because the car didn’t have a radio. I also hear Dad singing, “I went to see my Darling’ at our first house.
“My daughter, Kim, loved listening to Granpa sing ‘Bill Grogan’s Goat’ about eating shirts off the line. Grandpa had all these little holes in the front of his shirt from cigarette ashes and she wanted to hear the song over and over again.

“Singing Christmas Carols in the car on the way to church on Christmas Eve has always stuck with me.

“I sing Alto in the choir at church and have always found a choir to sing in where we have lived. I find it relaxes me.”