Vicki Louise Hall Clauson, 1955-2018

There is nothing like the loss of a parent to leave a child overwhelmed with all the responsibilities and duties of taking care of that parent’s final arrangements. That’s what is happening to three women I’ve known since they were preschoolers.

Elyse, Lauren and Renee are the daughters of my son’s God-father, Gene, who passed away in 2016. Well, his ex-wife, Vicki died earlier this month and to help draw some of the strain off ‘the girls,’ I offered to do the only thing I’m fairly decent at.

Vicki Louise Hall Clauson, 63, passed away from a pulmonary embolism brought on by end-stage kidney failure, following a lengthy battle with diabetes on October 18, 2018 at Providence Medical Center, in Medford, Oregon. She was born in Portland, Oregon, on April 6, 1955 and raised in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey.

Prior to moving to Oregon to be near her daughters, Vicki worked at John Ascuaga’s Nugget in Sparks, Nevada, for 13 years. She was a member of the Red Hats Society and volunteered at the Central Point Senior Center.

Vicki is preceded in death by her parents, Richard and Vesta Hall and her former husband Gene Clauson. She is survived by her brother Gary Hall of Prescott, Arizona and her three daughters, Elyse Fryling, her husband, Dustin and their two daughters, Alyssa and Rylee of Medford, Oregon; Renee Clauson of Central Point, Oregon; and Lauren Clauson and her three daughters, Sierra Ingram, Madison Turner and Natalie Turner of Denver, Colorado.

The family asks that in lieu of flowers, a donation be made in Vicki’s name to the American Diabetes Association. Funerary arrangements are being handled by Perl Funeral Home.

In a nutshell — death sucks!

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Las Vegas Shooting: Mike Cronk

From my notes:  “Yes, I’ve ‘scoped’ down profiles on survivors and those who helped save others. We need to know, that amid the darkness, a brighter light shined the night of the Vegas shooting.”

As the shooting began in Las Vegas, Mike Cronk stood his ground. He tried to help his friend who had taken three bullets to the chest.

“Most people started scattering and they climbed the fence, but I had to stay with my buddies. We got him over the fence once the firing stopped and slid him under a stage so we were safe.

My first thoughts were for my buddy. I wanted to make sure he was taken care of. But, you know, we were pretty much yelling at everybody to stay down. That was what we needed to do.”

Dorothy Lane, 1934-2018

My son, Kyle, lost his last grandparent on October 6, 2018 in Sedalia, Missouri. Dorothy Lane was born August 10, 1934 in Kansas City, Missouri, to Floyd and Grace Whittle.

She was raised in Kansas City and later lived in Nevada and California, where she worked as a manager for several doctors’ offices. It was while she was living in Reno, that I came to know her because of Kyle, through my son’s mother, Charissa Robbins.

As Kyle wrote on his Facebook timeline: “I will always love you and I will miss you until I see you again. Heaven gained an angel tonight.”

Las Vegas Shooting: Addison Short

From my notes:  “Wynn Las Vegas and Encore have begun checking bags with handheld metals detectors.”

In the middle of the Las Vegas shooting, Addison Short tried to make a run for it. But her knee gave way: “I just got shot, I can’t run. You kept hearing gunshots. They just weren’t stopping.”

Then a man used his belt to wrap her leg in a tourniquet and rush her to safety, “He just picked me up and threw me over his shoulder.”

The man carried her to a taxi that took her to the hospital, “It was just the scariest experience of my life.”

Bad for Business

Dreams can be so real and yet so odd. Real because of how you feel and think after waking up, odd because of the subject of the dream and (at least for me) the ‘composite people’ that make up the dreamscape.

A group of us were at dinner, when I was called away from the table to the telephone. Elizabeth, a friend of mine wanted to know if I were available for drinks.

Having jus’ finished eating I told her that I was and that I’d soon be over to her place to pick her up. I then returned to the table to excuse myself.

As I was saying my good-byes and heading for the exit, I was stopped – I had another telephone call. Again it was Elizabeth, who was now begging off our getting together because she was reminded that being seen with me was a bad move for her radio career.

Hurt, I told her that I understood, hung up the phone and proceeded to leave the restaurant. As I entered the foyer and walk by the front desk, another friend named Debbie, stopped me and asked if everything were okay.

As briefly as possible I explained what happened. Feeling bad for me, she hugged me tight and told me, “If I weren’t at work right now, I’d take you home and we’d have more than a night-cap.”

“Thank you,” I responded as my bedside alarm clock began to sound off.

Las Vegas Shooting: The Beatons

From my notes:  “Marilou Danley came to the U.S. as Marilou Natividad, married Geary Danley in 1990 and took his surname. Danley lives in Arkansas, but he has declined to answer questions. In 1996, Marilou wed Jose Bustos, and became Marilou Bustos. But she did not dissolve her marriage to Danley until 2015, divorce records show.”

The Beatons traveled from Bakersfield to the Las Vegas music festival to celebrate their 23rd wedding anniversary. That Sunday evening, Jack would die a hero shielding his wife, Laurie.

“He told me, ‘Get down, get down, get down!'”

He put his body on top of hers for protection. Laurie knew her husband was dead when she told him she loved him and he didn’t respond.

“He told me, ‘I love you, Laurie,’ and his arms were around me and his body just went heavy on me. I screamed his name and he wasn’t answering me. There was a lot of blood.”

Someone yelled run, “So we ran. I knew every day that he would protect me and take care of me and love me unconditionally, and what he did is no surprise to me. He is my hero.”

Maria Conteras and Chuck Whitten get Married

It was a very enjoyable day on October 26th, for everyone involved, I do believe. The day I’m speaking of is the wedding of my very good friend, Chuck Whitten and his best friend, Maria Jesus Molina Contreras.

They asked me to be their photographer for not only the nuptials, but also for the small party after, which was held on the deck of a local restaurant. It was a glorious day, all the way around.

Somehow, Chuck managed to get a photograph of me when I wasn’t looking. That’s what I get for putting the camera down – and how one breaks their camera in the end.

As a funny aside, I posted on Facebook, a couple of other photographs sent to me the following day, by the newly weds, including a close-up of Maria and me. The next thing I know, I have some of my friends and a number of her friends congratulating ‘us’ on ‘getting married.’ There was so much confusion about whom-married-whom, that I eventually  removed the pictures from my timeline.

Whoa!

Anyway, thank you Maria and Chuck for letting me be small a part of your special day. May you have a long and happy life together!