About 25 years ago we moved to Mercer County and became neighbors to the Burgers. They were this old couple which lived on the other side of the creek. Interestingly, now that they’re gone, we’ve become the old couple that lives on the other side of the creek – about the same age they were when we moved here.
Our earliest memory of Rosie was of her riding her bicycle in front of our house every school day whenever the weather allowed. She had a pole sticking up from her bike with a flag at the top to make her more noticeable to the passing traffic.
We came to learn that she had tuberculosis when she was young, and keeping active like this kept her in good health. Plus she liked to ride bike, and the ride into New Boston was a beautiful ride. Not too long after we moved in, they cut down some of the old trees growing up out of the road and put in a smooth black-topped surface – all the way from New Boston right up to our corner – no doubt to make Rosie’s ride smoother than that cow path that used to be there – nobody who ever drove that road can forget it.
We early discovered what Rosie and we had in common – the Chicago Cubs. Cubs baseball seemed somehow to come up in most conversations. It didn’t matter whether the Cubs were in contention or not, or if it was off-season. We finally went to a game in Chicago a couple of years ago and she loaned us some Cub attire to wear.
For several years we would take extensive trips to education conventions during the spring, and Rosie would come by and feed our dogs every day.
Our son Hans bought a motorcycle, and Rosie was first in line to take a ride around the section with him.
The New Years before last we had a costume party. Rosie came dressed as Little Bo Peep – and won the prize for the best costume.
In early January Rosie had been sick for a while – she thought she had a flu. One Sunday evening Laurie went over to check on her. Rosie wasn’t doing well at all, and Laurie offered to drive her to the hospital, but Rosie insisted on taking an ambulance because, as she put it, if you walk in, they’ll dilly dally around and you won’t get their attention, but if you come in an ambulance they treat you right away. So Laurie rode in the ambulance with her to the Muscatine hospital. A couple of days later, we got the bad news that Rosie had cancer and had only a few weeks to live.
Now that the two greatest Cub fans – Ron Santo and Rosie Burger – have passed on to root from another dimension, perhaps that will be enough to finally bring the Cubs a World Series victory. After all, they’ve got about the best hitting in the majors and if you take away a few bad innings their pitching looks good. It’s all those injuries, don’t you know, that’s been holding them back. Why, we aren’t even to the All-Star break yet. Well, you might not understand this kind of rant, but Rosie always did – it means keep on rootin’ ’cause the Cubs haven’t been mathematically eliminated yet and “It ain’t over till it’s over.”
We miss Rosie. Go Cubs.