Well now, this outta be a strange (albeit shorter) update, made all the merrier given my current crippled status. I’ve the use of only one arm at present so typing is rather burdensome. I’m not 18 anymore I’m afraid and my body didn’t take too kindly to being thrown around in the schwinge pit at the funeral games.
Funeral games you say? Why, indeed!
As you know from being a diligent reader of this nonsensical blog, I have taken the school year off to pen a family biography, beginning with interviewing my grandmother in Virginia. From there, the plan was to speak with old timers and family alike to get the skinny on how these Swissfolk ended up in the US and A.
Unfortunately, through a cosmic tragedy of Fate and Misfortune banging each other like dogs in heat, this family project has taken quite a turn, for my blessed grandma – Marta Ruch – went peacefully in her sleep to be with grandpa a week afore my scheduled arrival.
Naturally, the emotional loss of losing grandma was quite a turn, but I take succor in knowing her passing was timely and peaceful. It happens. She lived a good long Life and one can only smile at that knowledge.
The quest, however, remains the same: get the scoop. To that end, I have been interviewing scores of old farmers and friends from Switzerland and California, trying to get the stories I’ve missed over the years. I spent most of October on the road; December looks to be the same. A bittersweet blessing, this task.
O’er the Thanksgiving holiday, the entire American side came a callin’ to humble New Mexico to pay their final respects to grandma and her legacy. A week of fire pits, good food, epic tales, Swiss wrestling, and more! Quite a hoot, really, but tales for another day (when my arm isn’t near as crippled).
And, would you believe it, those hooligans saw fit to have me deliver one of two eulogies. So, in order to preserve my typing strength and gave my final praise ands respect to my beloved grandma, herein is the eulogy.
Eulogy for Marta Ruch 26.07.25 – 31.08.21
Reverend Q told me I only have 4 minutes so I will try and prevent the power of the pulpit from going to my head. Words are powerful things; I hope you chuckleheads realized this when you decided to put me up here as a familial representative.
Grandma, Oma, Mutti, Mom – whate’er you called her – would be rather pleased to have the entire clan assembled. That smile only a proud matriarch can muster when looking out on her prodigious kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids. Punctuate that with an ‘oy yoi yoi’ or a ‘mo mo’ and you get the idea.
Yet what can I say up here that hasn’t already been said or understood? What sort of revelation or wisdom can I impart that hasn’t already been proclaimed from every mouth here? O’er the course of the week, we have toasted Grandma’s life and fortune a thousandfold, a hundred wine bottles (and counting) a testament to her reach, influence, and legacy. My aunts have revisited their musings from their childhood; my cousins and siblings, our own tales of Grandma as we quaff and laugh. And, once this service concludes itself, we shall return to the obvious once more. We’ll share insights of her youth, her maturity, her dotage.
Grandma was kind. She was a hard worker. She was a stoic mother. Devoted, amiable, tenacious, warm, an unmatched rösti-maker. Yet you knew this already.
I could go on and label her with all those pleasant adjectives one is supposed to use when describing the recently deceased, hamfisting my way through this thing with some penchant and flair, regaling you with stories about this and that the way people do in these situations. We should be singing her praises, clapping one another on the back because ‘she’s with Jesus now,’ and telling one another humorous anecdotes and experiences we had with our kindly matriarch. That would be the sensible thing to do, given the situation and our mutual reason for being in this humble church.
But, ultimately, you all know these things already.
Of course, she was kind: she was a grandma. What old bat isn’t kind in the eyes of her legions of grandkids? The ubiquitous hard candy dish, a mainstay of old ladies everywhere, ensures such fondness.
Of course, she was a hard worker and stoic mother: most of y’all within this hallowed ground grew up with her in your lives and witnessed this revelation firsthand. She didn’t oft complain about her lot in life and certainly didn’t seek pity for her numerous and varied hardships. A long life leads itself to such understanding. Those Swiss women are tenacious old things, regular Marcus Aureliuses, especially when we remember that old strip of folksy Swiss leather Grandma married. God rest him.
We already knew these things. We’ve been celebrating her life the moment we came into hers; it stands to reason that we shan’t simply stop because she is no longer within our physical midst.
Thus, I am reminded of Narses, the Byzantine eunuch who subjugated the Goths and expelled them from Italy, and his dealings with the treacherous Roman, Cethigus Caesar. Taken from Ein Kampf um Rom – A Struggle for Rome – by Felix Dahn, it was a book Grandma bequeathed to me many birthdays ago, yet the words ring true today; especially this day of tears, farewells, and wine-addled words.
“We are all mortal, oh Prefect” Narses replied to the proud Roman. “Only a very few of us become immortal, and then only after our death.”
And here we are, assembled, not in mourning, but in immortality. And here we are, one more cosmic parable to digest and ponder. Gehen Sie mit Gött, Grandma. May immortality serve you well.
Here Endeth the Lesson
Treasure your loved ones, folks, especially the older ones. Gather their tales and keep their memories. Avoid wrestling as you age. Thanks for reading.