floraleelong November 21st, 2019

Auntie Jo was like a second mother to me. One of my earliest memories I was staying at her house when my cousins and myself were convalescing from a child disease (measles I think). All I know is that she has always been in my life and I am so grateful that she has. My next memory is when she decided that Frank and I should take a walk around west Coulee Dam. She felt that because of my lack of experience that I should where a harness. I remember feeling incensed that she handed the leash to Frank who was only a few months older than I was. There were many more wonderful memIories that Auntie Jo contributed to the feelings of wonder that I felt, whenever my immediate family I came to visit the area from Seattle. I fondly remember laying in one of bedrooms while she read us to sleep. Then there were all the adventures that she was with us on. Trips to Steamboat Rock, Dry Falls to see the white deer, the trip to Montana with all the cousins, just to name a few. But most of all there were the many adventures we had at the Circle Hanging J Ranch up on Peter Dan Creek. She was always game for a new adventure. She loved the ranch and would say “It is a place you would go to, just because you want to”. Influenced my fond memories I moved to the GCD area as a young adult in 1970 and I have been living here in our grandparent’s home ever since. Auntie Jo was big part of my life here. She helped me raise my children during my single mother stretch. She was always so willing that I had to discipline myself not to use and abuse. When my children stayed at her house, at the same time her grandchildren were there, her grandchildren called her Gma Jo. My children asked if they could also call her Gma Jo. When I asked her about it, she was so happy and said that she would love having anyone call her Gma Jo. And so, from that day on I have called her Gma Jo. In the early 90’s when Leia was no longer a baby, I started playing with horses again. I had been visiting Gma Jo and she had mentioned that ever since Uncle Ed had passed that she had difficulty finding reasons to get up in the morning. I thought to myself “Boy I could keep her busy.” And so, from that day on I have indevoured to do so. My neighbor came to me and said that she had heard that Gma Jo was needing a renter for the 60 acres. The next time I visited her I asked her if we could rent it. (She had offered it before but I didn’t think I could handle the maintenance at that time.) She called a few days later and proposed that we could use the 60 acres in trade for our taking care of a horse for her, if she got one. That was the start of Gpa’s Doo’d Ranch 1.2. She was 70 at the time. For a number of years, I drove school bus from Grand Coulee to Nespelem. Every morning when I drove by her house, she would get out of bed just to wave at me. My day would then start with the feeling of her love. I will carry on, but it will not be the same.