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Earth Rider Brewery

Every once in awhile, Julia and I come across a brewery that truly rises head and shoulders above the crowd. Earth Rider in Superior, Wisconsin is special in all of the ways that matter to us.  Earth Rider logo Located amongst a dense population of working class bars on the western edge of Superior, Wisconsin, Earth Rider’s taphouse is in an old brick building. The inside is a bit dark. There is no food to speak of here. Earth Rider is where you go if you want to drink really good beer in just about every beer style that we like. I started with their 2018 World Beer Cup bronze medal winner in the oatmeal stout category, North Tower Stout, while Julia enjoyed their hazy IPA. After sampling the Raspbecrush Tart, I then opted for a perfectly-styled Vienna Lager, which was dispensed side-pull, something the server described as a method to bring out a more creamy head.  We adjourned to the outdoor beer garden, which had a mural that I loved. For dinner, we went a couple of blocks down the s

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Muscatine, Iowa is an old river town along the Mississippi, settled by white folks in 1837.  Iowa State University operated an experimental farm here, and the area is widely known for producing some of the most delicious watermelons and cantaloupes in the country.

Last Sunday afternoon, towards the end of my stay at Shady Creek COE (just north of Muscatine), I received a text from my mother, indicating that my father's three month journey in hospice was close to the end.  I hitched up on Monday morning and towed the Scamp ninety minutes to a county park campground on the eastern edge of Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  

Indeed, my dad was no longer responsive, and the hospice nurse told us that he could pass away at any time.  We sat with him for the rest of the morning before taking a break for lunch.  I then returned to the Scamp to let Callie out for a short walk.  During that time period, Mom went back to my Dad's room and found that he had stopped breathing.  She gave him a hug and a kiss; he took one more big breath, and then he passed away.  

Dad was 91 and lived a full life.  He graduated from a small Catholic high school in Cedar Rapids and then volunteered for the Marine Corps during the Korean War, receiving a purple heart during two tours of heavy combat.  Dad's time in the Marines had a profound impact.  A disinterested, undisciplined student in high school, he found discipline and confidence as a Marine.

After discharge, he started college, completing his bachelor's and master's degree at the University of Iowa.  He then obtained his PhD from Stanford University.  

From there, Dad became the first principal at a new Madison, Wisconsin high school and stayed there several years before accepting a position as assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  He wrote two textbooks in the area of secondary school administration, eventually becoming a full professor and chairman of his department for many years.  

My mother and father were very close during their long marriage.  At times, he was a difficult parent (Marine Corps strict) but he taught us to work hard and to never quit. 

Dad also taught us a love for travel.  We took family vacations across the country and even to Mexico and Hawaii.  He was very frugal in many other ways, but travel and education were things that he was willing to spend on. 

Losing my father and my son over a one month period has been one of the most difficult periods of my life--even though both events were somewhat predictable.  There will be two celebrations of life this month, and then it will be time to move forward with the memories intact.  Thankfully, the anxiety and stress have already started to dissipate. 

Comments

MFH said…
I was by my grandmother's side in the hospital when she died at 95. It was similar: her breaths came further apart until one last. We should all be so lucky.

I've read so much about dying but not much about grief. I've tried to see it as a paradoxical joy...a gift from love. It hasn't really helped.

With empathy,

Mike
John said…
I haven't had much experience with death until this year. It sucks, but I realize that it's all part of the journey. Thanks for the thoughts.

John

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