Saturday, December 27, 2008

Ernest Saari - December 17, 2008

My uncle Ernie died on December 17. Ernie was my mother's younger brother. Uncle Ernie and Aunt Ann have lived on the family farm in Elo, Michigan. Ernie was (I think) born there and never left.

My musical ability comes from my mother's side of the family. I remember Ernie as a self-taught musician who could, it seemed to me, play any instrument he out his hands to.

Ernie farmed the land, sold Husqvarna chain saws, raised dairy cattle, and built sauna stoves (among other jobs he had).

In the summers my family would travel from our home in Rockford, Illinois, to "the farm" and spend a week there. I always looked forward to those trips. And I always felt welcomed warmly by Ernie and Ann, and my cousin Jim, who is my age. The farm is in a beautiful Michigan upper Peninsula valley, carved out by the Otter River. My parents had moved from the U.P. when I was just a year old. My dad's heart never left there, really, and he at times talked about moving back, even though there were no jobs. Some of this got into me. I live at the furthest point in Michigan from my birthplace in the U.P. (Hancock). Whenever I travel north there's a sense that I belong up there, too.

Ernie rarely traveled far from the farm. Those were his roots, and he wasn't going to leave them. I'll always remember his smile. I can hear his voice right now if I try, and it gives me a good feeling. Ann told me that just before he died she told him "I'll see you soon." I know she will. As will I. All of this hope is grounded in the resurrection of Christ. For more information go here, and here, and here.