Editor's note: This column was written by Edna Shaffer's daughter Vicki Kritzell, who was taking her turn caring for Edna as she recovered from surgery.
There are four of us, the "Shaffer girls," born over three decades. Random acts of kindness by God, wiggly baby girls delivered to Edna in the '40s, '50s and '60s, or is does God have a funny bone?
Being on hand since 1943, I believed the addition of the much-prayed-for sisters was due to my persistent nighttime pleadings with God to send us a baby. I say "us," because I am the oldest, the sister-mom, the BOSS! However, I must admit, in 1967, as the mother of two toddlers myself, my prayers changed.
I was outside washing the car when my husband stuck his head out of the window and said, "Your mother is on the phone, and she sounds serious." Because long-distance calls were saved for only the most important issues those days, I ran to the phone, heart pounding. Imagine my shock and surprise when my mother informed me that my children were going to have a new playmate when we came to visit, and my husband would be changing more diapers, those of his sister-in-law!
The final sister -- Sarah, the girl with the purple bangs -- was added and the foursome completed. Was not having a brother an issue in our house? I will answer that question by telling you this: After the birth of his final daughter, my father was asked by one of his parishioners if he was sorry he didn't have a son. Father drew himself up to his full 6-foot, 1-inch height and boomed in his Sunday voice, "No, I am not. And don't ever ask me that question again."
We truly thought Mom would be busy tapping away at her keyboard this month to bring you her usual nuggets of wisdom and delicious recipes (which account for much of my elderly girth), but she has hit a few speed bumps. We took her back to the hospital again for another 11 days since we last visited with you, and are scheduled to return to University of Michigan Hospital again. So, yours truly, No. 1, is writing column No. 3 while Mom continues to recuperate.