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The Mitzva

Story and Photos by Steve Giordano

All her life Roberta "Bobbie" Hollingsworth, a bred, born and raised New England blue blood, had wanted to visit the great and beautiful Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada. In fact, she had a lengthy list of exotic places she longed to visit and actually did manage to satisfy her delightful curiosity by traveling to most all of them before "moving on to her next adventure." There, on the list amongst a few other places, remained Lake Louise.

The chosen site, a spring at the edge of the frozen Lake Louise.
View back toward the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, and beyond that, the Lake Louise Ski Area.
Bobbie in her urnette warms to the idea.

One of Bobbie's favorite young caretakers during her later life was likewise, after Bobbie's death, the caretaker of her urn of ashes.

Bobbie had always been a great friend to my wife, Lynn, while she was growing up in Lenox, Massachusetts. She even had a room of her own at Bobbie's where she stayed overnight at least a few times a week.

Bobbie was a kick - I only met her once, a few years before she died. Lynn asked Bobbie how she was doing and Bobbie said, "Well, I can't see, I can't hear and I can hardly walk, but other than that I'm doing pretty well!"

Then Bobbie asked Lynn the tough question: "So Lynnie, when are you coming back home?"

"Lynnie" had been gone from Lenox for 38 years already...

One of Roberta "Bobbie" Hollingsworth's favorite young caretakers during her later life was likewise, after Bobbie's death, the caretaker of her urn of ashes. Holley had been checking off those few remaining places, sprinkling bits and pieces here and there, like in the waters off Cape Cod, lakes in Massachusetts, even from a cruise ship on its way to the Bahamas. Holley, I guess, really wanted to do high honor to Bobbie by sprinkling her all over the globe. But plenty of ashes were still left as was one last place on that list.

OK, let's do this final thing.
Ahh, Lake Louise at last.
It was a good day for sprinkling Bobbie's ashes, an honor. It was a good day for a mitzvah.

As it happened, I was scheduled for a trip to Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada and Lynn happened to mention that to Holley in one of their regular e-mails.

"Lake Louise?" she answered. "Bobbie always wanted to go to Lake Louise, but never made it. Do you suppose your husband..."

You get the idea of what's coming next. A small, black, elegant screw-top urn showed up in the mail just barely in time for me to hand-carry it to Lake Louise, Alberta. On a very fine and clear bluebird day when I had a little time to myself, Bobbie and I took a walk on the frozen lake.

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