Third Letter to My Son, Battling Covid-19

Third Letter to my Son, battling Covid-19
By Valerie J Laidlaw
November 30, 2020

After the video chat with you last night, where your wife, siblings, daughters, nephews, my husband and I all reached out to visit, I just sat under the full moon. I stayed within the quiet calmness of the night thinking of you and your family.
Today is the last day of November in a most unusual, difficult year. Seeing you last night, my thoughts hugged you closely into my heart. It is comforting to know you are being well cared for. Rest for now, so when you regain your strength you can heal fully and enjoy all of the blessings in your life!
As you explained your possible treatment plan while facing Covid-19, you examined it all from a scientific mind.
Your mind works like a “Champion Chess” player, examining in your mind several steps ahead to achieve the best outcome. You knew the interactions, side effects, desired and undesired effects of the medications you needed, plus, the timing of implementing the ventilator should you need to move forward towards that step. You knew that the medical and scientific world was advancing and achieving better results now vs. last March.
Even though you used masks, distanced yourself, washed your hands, worked to help others, you were infected with the virus. Having chronic asthma, you knew this could be a major fight for your life. You are a fighter, and I know you will not accept the option to give up.

Here’s the story. Sometimes, you did not always avoid making wrong choices. You knew things could turn dire, yet, somehow you had to see them play out.
Everyone enjoys “The Christmas Story” Movie. The boy is warned about bb guns and eyes, and another boy freezes his tongue to a cold, metal pole. The movie has a hidden meaning to you and me, Kyle.
So, about bb guns! One of your grandmother’s brothers shot her in the behind, and my brothers and I went out to the vacant slough area to practice shooting targets.
Well, unbeknownst to me, you had an uncle at the lake who had a bb gun. You secretly snuck this gun into a hiding place near the back basement stairs in our house by Lindenwood Park. A neighbor boy, with much less common sense, acquired the loaded object of this story.
A man gets into his pickup and starts to drive down a nearby alley, just as the neighbor boy shoots the bb gun towards the truck. No living being was harmed, however, both boys had to face a detective and a judge. The understanding detective happened to be the father of my oldest brother’s friend. The judge firmly talked to the boys about how even a slingshot is illegal within the Fargo city limits, (I thought of “Dennis, the Menace”), and explained the possibilities of how the man could’ve been permanently injured. She closed with her statement, “It is my hope that should you boys ever decide to act like this, that you will have a “light-bulb” moment, and make a better choice!”
I think it stuck.
Sure, you still had to play out those adolescent years of experimentation, eventually finding the right and better path of your future!
I’ve probably made many “wrong” turns, and ultimately hope that I’m also on the “right” path, yet, I always felt loved by you.
I am always proud of you, my firstborn, Kyle!
I will always believe in you, and unconditionally love you, Kyle!
Stay strong!


Kyle wearing an “Alohamuriel” mask from his sister, Kaira.

Second Letter to my Son, Battling Covid-19

Second Letter to my Son, battling Covid-19,
November 29, 2020
By Valerie J Laidlaw

Dear Kyle,

I read your recent messages, plus, Jaci’s latest update. I hope you are having good thoughts and wonderful dreams while you are being on the ventilator. Heal well, my son! Everyone I know, a whole network of people from everywhere, they are thinking of you and praying for you.

I used to swim laps in the pool with you when you were a baby. You’d hang on and kick right along with my strokes. The doctors were amazed at how strong and muscular you were at your physical exams.

Swimming at the “Y”

I had an “umbroller” fold up stroller. I’d be shopping in the store and you’d be buckled in. Before I knew it you’d lean forward to your feet and walk around with the stroller behind you.

Carseats were another challenge. I’d try several in the store, buckling you in, and like a little Houdini, you would escape. Eventually, I’d buy the one carseat you could not escape.

Before Kevin came around, we purposely went for long walks and bikerides, so the stoller would then be used for Kevin. You were so proud that you walked “all the way from Shopko.”

In Decatur, you attended “Kindercare” Day Care while I worked 2 part-time jobs. You learned to talk in a Southern accent, saying, “Howdo!?” to everyone you’d meet.

Moving to Fargo, you attended 1 year preschool at Hope North & two years at Kinder Kamp preschool. You were tested before the second year of Kinder Kamp by the schools for readiness. We were shown that you were ready in skills of a 7-10 year old. After a school tour, I asked you if you wanted to start Kindergarten early before age 5 and you thought about it and said that you wanted to go another year at Kinder Kamp.

It seems like you were born knowing and understanding so much, and your brain is a sponge. I loved hearing how you thought of the various paths in math, calculus or whatever type of problem you encountered, and taught the college professors a smoother path to a correct answer. So much for “Good Will Hunting!”

I was proud of you going to UND, making friends there, etc. The year of the floods and the fire in Grand Forks, cleaning out your flooded dorm room, where a school newspaper lay in the aftermath declaring, “Floods Unlikely!”
You tried to return, however, the mold and pollen affected your breathing even then.
You moved to Florida and worked in Florida, then visited up here. During your visit you reconnected with friends and family, and you met Jaci, a beautiful gal with your same beliefs, outlook on life, and height of thought patterns, laughter, plus, love.

You dealt with theft of property in Florida, and another flooded living space, and lined up studies at NDSU. Through all of this, as with any of your life challenges, you kept positive and showed your resiliency skills.

This is another bump, a major bump, this Covid-19, but, you being you, Kyle, you will beat it!


Kyle in Florida
Toddler Kyle & Mom
Kyle sharing the couch with his siblings,
Kaira & Kevin
Dream Catcher in Little Canada

First Letter to my Son, Battling Covid-19

First Letter to my Son, battling Covid-19

November 28, 2020

By Valerie J Laidlaw

Dear Kyle,

I know you are fighting, that’s how you are! It’s in our Viking blood.

I remember you before your first breath. So still, for a moment. Then, you breathed in and let out a strong cry! You had a head full of dark, curly hair before your blonde roots revealed the “tow-headed” toddler you became.

As you became more mobile, jumping so hard in your “Johnny Jump-up” that you ended up sideways before 2 months, we knew you were a strong, determined little guy.

We had to put things up real high on our floor to ceiling shelves. That is, until you found a way to climb up, anyway.

Before I knew what I was getting for your second Christmas, I came home and the Christmas tree looked a bit disheveled. Later, after getting a movie camera and seeing your movie from that day, I saw how you climbed up on my rocker and played with the tree until it almost fell on top of you.

You were always generous and helpful to your friends. Sharing your toys and showing concern when they were troubled.

After Kevin came, things were a bit more challenging at times, yet, you have become the best big brother, Kevin, Kaira & Josh could ever wish for.

You’re so smart, yet, you use your brains for good. Tutoring others in math, helping people with their medications. While others around you bragged about being a genius, you’d meet my eyes with a smile. You knew “bragging” about being intelligent was not a quality you ever would show others. You treat everyone fair and kind.

Early on, you memorized the alphabet, then you memorized songs and books. In your mind, in grade school, you always knew where you stood in the teacher’s grade book.

I am so proud of you, Kyle! I see you and your qualities in your children, and, in your life partner, Jaci.

I love how you so readily accepted and welcomed my husband Rick, as family. It is so hard waiting for a time where we can all visit safely all together.

In the meantime, please get as healthy as you can with the help of those caring for you!



Kyle & Mom

Monday’s Metaphor

Monday’s Metaphor
By Valerie J Laidlaw
November 23, 2020

My sky is an ocean upon which the birds fly.
The jet streams and clouds feather against the blue.
The cold, brisk wind paints an ever-changing canvas,
Feeling like an Antarctica gale upon a shipwreck shore,
Chilling me to the bone,
As I had traveled the furthest destination,
From my far northern Minnesota home.

“Oh Dear!”

A Deer’s Perspective, 2020
By Valerie J Laidlaw

I’m speaking here, up in Deer Heaven.
Remember my guy with prongs eleven?
He was just minding his own business,
On a warm, Autumn day, and who’da’ guess,
In a blue moon,
That he’d be down so soon,
At sun up, way before noon?
It’s not like the old days,
Where you hunters climb up in a tree,
Waiting, watching, listening for me.
You’ve got cameras, everywhere I turn,
And, some crazy, humming “drone” thing flying, and spying,
All night, and before daylight begins to burn.
We have no privacy!
Our images are tracked, on your computers,
As we travel forth and back, from you shooters! Darn intruders!
Trees fall.
Fields are plowed.
We can barely hide, to save our hides!
So, you say, that there’s a bunch of us!
We didn’t build the roads we cross,
Where we get hit, at whatever cost.
So, here I am up in “Deer Heaven,” ’cause I lost.

6. Huntergal, The Poetic Experience, 2020

  1. Huntergal, The Poetic Experience, 2020
    By Valerie J Laidlaw

The weeds across the field bordering the riverbank trees,
Deceptively dance like puppetry, pulling the strings of little “fawns” upon the breeze.
Through my scope I peer closely, and not a deer do I clearly see.
As evening rolls in, the winds settle to random swirling gusts,
Which cause the trees to sway and crackle, bare branches against the trunks,
Mimicking pairs of phantom bucks as they lunge towards eachother, and “anger-drunk.”
A large, loud snap, and crackle sounds out behind me as an unseen tree falls splashing into the sparkling river behind me.
This November sees an unusual “Indian Summer” in Temps of 70 degrees.
I saw an eagle soar, bluejays flee, geese migrate, and squirrels scurry up a tree,
Nature is an enchanting gift which surrounds me.
I did see a yearling with darker fur feeding on the last patch of green,
I had plenty of perfect shots, yet I chose to let him go,
To grow larger for yet another season, and in-between.
Fare Thee Well!

5. Huntergal, The Tower, Described, 2020

  1. Huntergal, The Tower, Described, 2020
    By Valerie J Laidlaw

Past a menagerie of machinery,
Replaced, retired, rusted, resting,
Becoming one with the land,
There’s an evolved “tower.”
It had started out as a base
Resting high up on stilts.
Partial walls were added,
Boxing in some shelter from the wind,
Providing a rifles resting place,
An added, wobbly, discarded desk chair,
Plus, an angled ladder which provided a stair.
In previous years, this was the ultimate stand,
Sitting there, this Huntergal felt so grand!
Surprizingly, a much-improved version has really, amazingly raised the bar!
A latched door, drop-down plexiglass windows on three sides,
Stapled mover’s quilts insulated the walls,
A ceiling, and a flap over the door all creating shelter from the wind,
Two sturdy chairs, a hunter’s dream tower had really become a reality by far!
With all this, I was so thankful to not just be sitting on a folding chair by our car.
Upon learning now, the permission has been withdrawn,
For future years, we will seek out our own new territory,
So, we will move onward, elsewhere to create our own new story,
Grateful for the experience, and a past of friendship and comradery,
What a year this has been, during this pandemic Covid-19 in 2020!

4. Huntergal, A Windy Day, 2020

  1. Huntergal, A Windy Day, 2020
    By Valerie J Laidlaw

Our hunting friends lent me their tower,
Briefly, the sky emitted droplets in a shower.
I turned, walking quietly eastward,
Past an old cemetary, along the wooded shoreline,
Entering upon an open area of the curving prairie river,
A “thumb,” as opposed to our usual “finger”
We most frequently hunted within.
I spied a small fawn with just his ears and eyes focused on me,
Standing so statuesque and still,
He seemed more like a decoy ornamentally placed.
As I moved, he turned and pounced closer to the shore,
Standing again, sideways, I saw his full figure, a perfect shot,
So near, yet, I reminded myself, “He’s too young!”
His white tail waved “goodbye!” as he dove into the cover of tall brush and reeds,
My thoughts replied, “Nevermore!”

3. Huntergal, Still Day One, 2020

  1. Huntergal, Still Day One, 2020
    By Valerie J Laidlaw

Remembering Old Moses, a dog who joined us on hunts long ago,
I heard the barking of a new, black labrador lady, of whom I had still yet to know.
She barked, running coyly alongside of our car.
She peaked around cautiously, dodging my greeting, and running back to the farm.
In time, by the next day, she came around next to me,
Eventually, sniffing me up on my knee,
She even followed me as I hid in the woods behind a tree,
Privately, and quickly, as us “Huntergals,” also, have the necessity to pee.
Sitting again, I saw several deer eating corn husks through my scope,
Yet, the distance of such a shot was much more than any good hunter could hope.
As soon as the sun sets down in the west at the end of day one,
Then, each hunter must stop, and lay down his or her rifle or gun.

2. Huntergal, Day One, 2020

  1. Huntergal, Day One, 2020
    By Valerie J Laidlaw

Our usual hunting family had changed and evolved much this year,
Each of the two sisters have babies taking more presidence and priorities than deer.
Their brother, brought his son, in full, hunting attire,
Aptly named, yet, not revealed in this text, he took aim to fire,
At a buck, “right off the bat,” in the morning,
A large trophy, this buck, with eleven expansive points of horning,
Weighing over one hundred fifty pounds,
With its insides left behind, and cleared out on the ground.
We assisted them loading him up first through the woods on a sled,
Then, lifting him on a rack behind their truckbed.
We followed them to their farmhouse, to the garage, and its rafters,
As they hoisted the deer up with ropes, hooks, and a wench from their four-wheeler,
Weighing him, then hooking him up, horns down, prepped for cleaning him after,
We ate a brief lunch, returning to hunt a doe, which, a day and a half later, our fate would reveal her.