Daphne (2004-12-24 - 12:31 p.m.)
This is the cyber-eulogy of Daphne Mabel Strong Ferrey.
She was a wonderful woman and one of my favorite people. I grew up beside her, not even a block away. One of my earliest memories is of visiting her at work, at the town Health Unit. She used to give me paper to colour on and little square mints out of her desk drawer.
She was always giving things. It was one of her defining characteristics in my mind. She always seemed to be busy, more often than not making something for someone. Everyone looked forward to church gatherings because they were guaranteed dozens of Daphne's amazing homemade buns. She gave me the recipe, but somehow mine are never quite the same. I remember helping her sneak a dozen buns into peoples' cars at Christmas - she liked giving them as presents, but didn't want anyone to feel compelled to get her something in return!
That's how I always picture her, standing in her warm kitchen with the glass ornaments casting dancing lights on the floor and walls, baking. I would burst through the door (which was never locked) to the smell of cookies or bread in the oven. "Hi Grandma, whatcha making?" And she always gave me a sample.
She was born in Rocky Mountain House and grew up there, though she lived and worked in Drumheller for a while. She also spent some time in England as a teen with a set of stodgy old relatives, who were shocked at her free-and-easy colonial manners and horrified that she always wore trousers! I have a feeling this trip contributed to her determination to be as unstodgy an old lady as possible. She definitely succeeded in keeping her sense of adventure, which was proven beyond a doubt when she suddenly decided to accompany her sister and I on a trip across England this fall. It wasn't easy for her to get health insurance, though, and she looked at me before we got on the plane and said solemnly, "Anne, you should definitely try and travel before you turn 80. After that it just becomes too much hassle."
I'm glad she didn't take her own advice, though. I had a wonderful trip with her and Barb. I'll never forget the way they saved the first-class treats and sent them back to me, languishing in Economy, via a slightly confused stewardess! I still have the little container of lotions they give the first-class passengers - Grandma passed her set on to me.
She was a big fan of this weblog, having taken to the internet at a fairly advanced age. (Though she always had my brother Sam come over to fix the computer for her when it gave her trouble). She liked reading the stories about what I've been up to, and emailed me to tell me so, which always impressed me. It made me laugh so hard when she told me about my brother bookmarking this blog for her, so she could read it anytime she wanted. She said,
Tim came over and put your diary on my computer so that I can keep track of you!!!! He said he didn't think that maybe I should read it as it seemed like it was mostly about "pubs!" I guess he thinks that I have led a very sheltered 81 years!!!
I loved that about her - she pretty much said it like it was, and sheltered she certainly wasn't. She had a mind of her own and she used it. She was determined not to be forced out of her house and into a nursing home, and I'm very happy she managed her goal - to stay in her own home till the end. We will all miss her - the entire town will miss her. She was part of what made it what it is.
She will be remembered.
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