By Richard Peterson
We’ve been in a state of mourning at the Farmers Press for several months, ever since Lori Kay Howard came home from Rochester with a death sentence. There was no cure for the 45-year-old’s pancreatic cancer, which was steadily attacking her body and spreading relentlessly to her stomach, liver and colon.
There was hope at first. After being sick for a couple months with little or no relief, she went to Rochester this spring. It took doctors there one day to determine that she had pancreatic cancer.
Surgery was performed a few days later and it appeared she was going to recover.
She took chemotherapy at Fargo for a couple months and when she went back to Rochester, it was determined the cancer had spread and there was no hope.
Nevertheless, there was hope. She went to Tijuana, Mexico to take unconventional nutritional treatment for the cancer. When she returned, volunteers helped her with the complex task of preparing organic juices and a meatless, sugarless diet.
Conventional medicine had nothing to offer, so it was worth a try, but it didn’t work.
Eventually the pain of her cancer became unbearable and she had to enter the hospital, where morphine gave her some relief. She went into hospice care at the Heartland Care Center in Devils Lake several weeks ago, where morphine continued to help reduce the pain.
The awful struggle ended Sunday evening.
Lori Kay "Dee" came to work at the Farmers Press when she was in high school and she became a full-time employee on June 1, 1979, just days after her high school graduation. She loved her work. In her 28 years at the newspaper I don’t remember that she ever took a vacation.
Until her final illness, the number of days she missed work in those
28 years could be counted on one hand. She was often found at the office on weekends working on one of her many projects for this organization or that. She was a true community booster and volunteer and was in the thick of anything happening in the area.
We’ve certainly felt her absence at the Farmers Press and will feel it for some time to come. We miss her as an employee, co-worker and friend.
Rather than dwelling on the awfulness of her death, it’s better to remember the details of her vibrant life: the ever-present smile, the infectious laugh, the irrepressible sense of humor, the fast walk which sometimes became a jog and the ability to get things done.
From the e-mails:
1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they’re serving rum balls.
2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. It’s rare. You can’t find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It’s not as if you’re going to turn into an eggnog-alcoholic or something. It’s a treat. Enjoy it.
Have one for me. Have two. It’s later than you think. It’s Christmas!
3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That’s the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.
4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they’re made with skim milk or whole milk. If it’s skim, pass. Why bother? It’s like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.
5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat other people’s food for free. Lots of it. Helloooo?
6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year’s. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do.
This is the time for long naps, which you’ll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.
7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don’t budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They’re like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you’re never going to see them again.
8. Same for pies. Apple. Pumpkin. Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or if you don’t like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?
9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it’s loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, seriously … have some standards.
10. One final tip: If you don’t feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven’t been paying attention.
Re-read tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner. Remember this motto to live by:
"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, champagne in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO, what a ride!"
Have a great holiday season!