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Inheritance: Rites of Passage

Tom headed north today. It seemed appropriate to shift the music to Triumph. This Canadian band crackled through the old AM/FM radio in the bedroom of my teenage years as we lie in bed waiting for the stars to lighten the skies through the cracks in the shade.

Barnes, WI is where we enjoyed summers for over at decade at the lake, horsing around with friends and cousins raiding Kennicky’s garden of ridiculous turnips none of us ate resulting simply in embarrassment when forced to walk over and apologize. But it is here also where I learned how to be alone, often spending weeks on end with adults: rug hooking, books, embroidery my primary occupations. Netflix certainly didn’t exist; we still only have three primary stations there forty years later, admittedly the news broadcasts do border on comedy. My designs line the walls above the kitchen cupboards, like a growth chart demonstrating my progress. Wind in Willows too remains in the top right drawer of the desk in my bedroom awaiting the next generation, now grandchildren to cherish.

“Dad” popped up on the cell phone when Tom called to confirm his arrival. Still after thirteen years since his death, I haven’t changed the phone’s reference. It is only upon this departure that I told Tom to bring back anything of interest. We can do so without guilt, fear, or repercussion. It is now finally our house. I have approval and courage to change it, make it our own; the actual purpose of this 24-hour dash between snow or ice storms to meet with contractors to address forty-year-old plumbing in the baths. They are time capsules to when the house was built in 1976; my father’s fingerprints everywhere. Imagine matching brown shower, toilet, and sink basin shaped like it belongs in a retro hair salon. Or the parallel forest green garanimal set in the basement. Not a tile is cracked; but the showers leak, rendered completely non-functional, equally stained orange from the well’s rust line which was re-drilled last year in anticipation of these projects.

Inheritance is a tricky wicket. Mom passed in 2004; Dad in 2007. My sister and I shared this home through 2014 until her addictions ultimately forced the separation of the trust. Dad always wanted me to have this lake home given it was me who spent the most time there, who would equally share his loyalty to its history. Sue would take the Tosa home, our primary residence where we grew up until we began our own lives. But, parents seem helpless to address logic in advance of death, even when Sue spent two months detoxing a decade prior. The battle thus would be mine to unravel and maneuver, precariously, painfully years post.

Do you also have experience inheriting something grand or insignificant that impacted your life profoundly? I welcome you to join the dialog and share your stories.

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