View from the Barnyard

Live by the sun - Love by the moon

Last Sunday a wonderful person left this world – Jill Olson. Once again due to cancer – that ugly disease that robs us of the people we love and cuts the lives short far too early. No matter about the deadly diagnosis, Jill refused to live in its shadow and kept living her life. Hers was filled with her teaching job, being a housewife, a friend, running a melon stand, painting pumpkins, (I never could master that art) babysitting for friends, quilting, helping the Community Club, being a grandma and most of all loving her hubby, Craig.
Teaching is what first brought Jill to our town of Woonsocket. Her hometown was Britton (way up north.) Jill excelled around children and they loved her back. Even though she herself would never be a mother, she made up for it by mothering hundreds over her long teaching career. Giving up her teaching job due to her illness was one of the hardest decisions for her to make.
I was amazed when Craig said they were married 23 years. A lot of us in this small community watched their life unfold. We were there when they started to date. Craig was a divorced man with three kids. Our generation of cousins worried about him, that he wouldn’t marry again. (If a man with that many kids had asked me out, I’d still be running, after 23 years I might be almost to the tip of South America).
You know when you’re making a recipe and you taste it but it’s still not quite right? Well, Jill was the spice that Craig needed in his life. I would like to believe that Craig was first attracted to her sunny personality, but being a man it could very well have been her chest size. We were all thrilled when marriage was in the air. His dad, Arvid, may have been the wise man who told Craig, “If you love her, you better put a ring on it.” (Sorry Beyonce, you were second). We all breathed a sigh of relief when Craig and Jill settled into their happily ever after.
I guess nobody can begrudge us our moments of sadness for Jill’s passing. Yet, I find myself only thinking of all the fun and happiness that really embodied her. Jill was up for any adventure – kayaking the Niobrara, camping, Deadwood bus trips, flying to Vegas, going to Hawaii with Craig on her tow line.
I was honored to be the one to read Craig’s letter to Jill about their life and daughter-in-law Tara’s appreciation letter at Jill’s memorial service. Jill said she knew there’s a God and heaven but only worried that Craig had never done dishes, cooked or laundry. (She spoiled him.)
Jill would definitely leave us this bit of wisdom, “One day your life will flash before your eyes – make sure it’s worth watching.”
Dee Baby

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