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Our kids, ages 50 and 48, want to know Marv’s stories. I guess it’s good to know, since his time is now limited to tell them. This strikes me as tremendously ironic, because I’ve been a huge proponent on this blog of documenting your stories. I’ve warned, more than once, that if you don’t write your words down, your words will die with you.

So, why didn’t I think of documenting some of Marv’s stories along the way? Well, I have, and I have a tiny collection, but he’s never wanted to be a part of my blog, so if I’ve included him here, I’ve always done so with his permission. I’ve asked him a time or two to write some things, and I have hard copies somewhere, but that’s it. I have file drawers full of written stories from writing prompts to personal essays, even a novel, but very little directly about him.

When we got the news of Marv’s diagnosis of “very aggressive” small cell lung cancer, three weeks ago tomorrow, on the drive from SD to AZ, it had dawned on me that I could still write some stories. I got out my notebook in the car and asked Marv what life experiences he’d like to tell me, so I could form them into stories.

But, after I had the list, the thought of dealing with it was overwhelming, and I pocketed the idea far away.

Then, while we were in AZ with our son and DIL from WA, he brought it up. He wanted to know his Dad’s stories. What stuck out from his childhood on the farm? Outhouses, teams of horses, the party line phone on the wall? And what prompted him to start his business of helping children in special education to access needed health care services? And how many children has that affected? And why his lifelong passion for children to begin with?

He forwarded more questions he found online. I tried to think of how I could get Marv’s stories written. My mind blanked out. There was too much coming at me at once. I soon told our daughter about our son’s request. Oh yes, she’d like Dad’s stories too.

I thought back to when I did my dissertation for my doctorate. I’d tape-recorded over 1000 pages of interview data and hired a transcriptionist to type them up. That’s what I could do. Buy an updated recorder, have Marv talk, and then find a transcriptionist.

I felt better. But my daughter got right back to me. Just like that, my SIL had two contacts—one a videographer who could film Marv as he told stories and another who could interview him at length and formulate a “legacy” book out of his stories. Like a ghostwriter. We decided on a book as more lasting, and just like that, our SIL set it up.

I’m feeling like a broken record about God’s grace, but, again, what are the odds of all this coming to fruition with no effort from me?

Our interviews start today. I’m going along to make sure he tells the truth! Ha.

Marv meets a “Viking” — Norway, Fall 2017