Background Switcher (Hidden)

A Tale of Two Granddaughters

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Zickefooses, circa 1976. Dad is looking pretty pleased with his brood, there on the far right. That's your blogger as a college freshman, right next to Dale. Now, I look more like my mom (plaid jacket) than I do me!

If you like the stories I tell on this blog, I would like you to know that I am only partly responsible for them. I owe whatever storytelling chops I have to my father, Dale Zickefoose. Dad grew up along the Skunk River in southeast Iowa. He was born in 1912. He could tell stories from pioneer days as if he'd been there, so keen was his love of the language and his joy in passing them along. They run through my head sometimes at night. The Cemetery on Pansy Hill. Diphtheria Wallpaper. The Murdering Benders. Ol' Cinnamon the Kicking Cow. Looking for Owl Gizzards. And of course, The Pittard Series. When Dad was a kid, their neighbors in Iowa were an... unusual family with their own language, which Dad's family managed to decode, and then incorporated into their legend and lexicon. You can imagine how much we loved stories about the Pittards, and begged Dad to tell them in Pittard-speak.

My dad enjoyed tinkering with antique gasoline engines, and he loved growing things. He also loved chocolate, nuts, dried figs and buttermilk. (Hey, me too!) But he really, really loved his grandchildren. The two who got to see the most of him when they were little were my sister Nancy's girls, Courtney and Christy. Nancy and her family lived outside Charlottesville, Virginia when the girls were little, and they came into Richmond frequently enough so that my folks got to watch them grow up. Oh, how Dad loved those little girls.
Courtney is the blonde. Christy is wearing a scowl, perhaps related to the two band-aids on her knees, or the Rice Krispie treat she's palming.

Those little girls are all grown up now. Courtney works as an editor for Norton. She just got married in August '07. You may remember her luminosity from a previous post.
Chris is a world traveler, linguist, and perhaps one of the most socially conscious people I've known.
How I wish Dad could have lived to see them grow and flower, but Dad died in 1994 from lymphoma, a bad, bad case of it. He made it to our wedding here in Ohio in September, 1993; got to see our new place in the country, returned to Virginia, went straight into the hospital, and died seven months later. He never knew Phoebe or Liam, missed them clean. But he knew Courtney and Christy.

These two beautiful young people decided to do something to honor my dad, their grandfather. First Chris, and then Courtney started training to run marathons a number of months ago. (Christy dared Courtney to join her.) On January 13, 2008, they'll be running a full marathon in Phoenix, Arizona, to raise money for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. In order to train for the 26.2 mile-trek, they're running four days a week and cross-training one to two days a week. Courtney's averaging a ten-minute mile on the longer runs, and her goal is to finish the race in 5 hours or less. She's pledged to raise $3,800 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

As you know, I don't often--read: never--use my blog as a platform for causes, worthy or otherwise, and I don't solicit from my gentle readers. But this thing moves me. These young women have essentially turned over all their free time and the strength of their bodies to making the world a better place for leukemia and lymphoma patients, and I have to honor and salute them. If you'd like to add a little to the cause (100% tax-deductible, I'd add), click here.


Run, run, run.
Today we helped bury our friend's 4 year old boy who died of leukemia last Thursday.

Your pride in them shows. I am moved by their love and dedication. Congratulations!

Such a special tribute to a man who was very much loved. He certainly made a different while he was here. He couldn't have nurtured a better family.

Well, I think those lovely ladies need to run the Mayor's Midnight Sun Marathon here in Anchorage. We are usually helping run one of the aid stations. Then the whole Zickefoose/Thomspon clan can come up for the longest day of the year. It's all for a good cause. ;-)

Seriously, though, those girls are fantastic. And a loving tribute from a wonderful daughter.

Count us in, JZ. I never knew David's mother (by all accounts a lovely woman); she died of lymphoma before I met him.
To littleorangeguy, my deepest sympathy and a touch of hope: I'm involved in a book project with a couple whose 6-year-old-daughter has just been pronounced free of leukemia. All that running is doing some good.

Thanks for the opportunity to help.

My grandparents were my anchor and my rock and I know exactly what moves those beautiful women to such gratitude.

Thanks for an excellent post and to the celebration of grandparents that love unconditionally and to the grandchildren that keep them alive in their memories and their hearts.

Thanks, everyone! What a fabulous surprise this recent flood of donations has been. Thanks also for your stories and words of encouragement. We'll be thinking of you on Sunday!

Courtney and Christy

Just a wonderful tribute to your father Julie. I know he is smiling down upon you all. Good luck girls!!

[Back to Top]