Rhoda Newman Hoffman is my wonderful 91 year old mother-in-law. Rhoda has endured tremendous hardships in her long life but through it all managed to keep a sweet, loving spirit. Her two sons, Wayne and Glenn have been the light of her life. She has loved much, laughed often and doted on her grandchildren.
Her life with Harry Hoffman, her husband of over 50 years, was a challenge. He was a musician who played in night clubs and loved big band music. On Harry's eightieth birthday Wayne and I took Harry and Rhoda to a beautiful restaurant in Cincinnati with a fabulous view of the city. I shall never forget the two of them floating around the dance floor to the big band tunes. They were magical together. It was a fun and memorable evening. We are grateful for that evening as Harry passed away the following year.
Robyn has been reminiscing about her childhood summers at her grandparent's home in Louisville, Kentucky. Robyn and Heather would look forward with anticipation to a week with them each year. Harry would play loud music and allow Robyn and Heather to play "bar" in the basement. The lights were dimmed and the "bar" lights were turned on and Harry was blowing his trumpet. There was a real band stand and many musical instruments where the former band used to rehearse. (I have it on good authority that "little" Wayne even played bar with them sometimes.)
While the music wailed in the basement Rhoda would be dissecting a can of salmon upstairs in preparation for salmon croquettes. When I say dissect, I mean dissect. She went through a can of salmon and removed anything that wasn't pink. (About half the contents of the can.) It took her hours to prepare dinner. She never particularly liked cooking because her hands were gnarled from arthritis caused by a serious accident when Wayne and Glenn were teenagers. She was hit by a car at the mail box and barely survived. Thankfully she recovered but was left with many "scars" from her injuries.
I speak of Rhoda with great love because she treated me as a daughter from the day I met her. She was warm and welcoming and I loved her from day one. Now it's time to start letting her go and I am not sure how to do that. I cared for my own mother in her waning years and even though I would not have kept Mom on earth for another day longer, I still miss her everyday. I know letting Rhoda go will be no easier.
We love you Rhoda! God bless you!
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