We love you, Annie. Godspeed.

by Brad Nelson10/4/17
Her son, Alex, called me tonight to let me know that our Anniel had passed away peacefully today or yesterday. The details were lost in the sudden shock of the realization.

When Alex has time to come up for air, he will give us more information. For now, what he expressed to me makes me feel both sad and very glad. As often as I complain about the hardship of running this site, or it not going how I planned, there was always one thing that did go as planned, and amazingly so: Anniel.

Alex expressed to me how very much it meant to his mother to have a place to express herself, to tell her stories, state her beliefs, and pass on some of her history. When I started StubbornThings, I didn’t know what Kismet had in store for us. But I was sure that if you put the tools in front of people and gave them an opportunity, some would make use of it for something more than sharing cat pictures. And she did.

Annie was the first person to really make full use of this site, as intended, and thus was the first StubbornFellow. She earned the right to write as she would, when she would, no matter what. If an article came in from her at 10:00 at night I would sometimes do my best to get it up before retiring. I didn’t, of course, always succeed.

First sadness, then gladness thinking back on a life I barely knew but that I do know continues on. She will no doubt earn her wings as a HeavenlyFellow if I know my Annie. And “Annie” it will always be to me. Her “real” name is Diane. To God she is likely known by still another.

Thank you, Annie, for giving some purpose and meaning to my own life. You will be missed. Godspeed. • (255 views)

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Brad Nelson

About Brad Nelson

I like books, nature, politics, old movies, Ronald Reagan (you get sort of a three-fer with that one), and the founding ideals of this country. We are the Shining City on the Hill — or ought to be. However, our land has been poisoned by Utopian aspirations and feel-good bromides. Both have replaced wisdom and facts.
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30 Responses to We love you, Annie. Godspeed.

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    I can’t disagree with any of your sentiments. Many people have disappeared from the StubbornThings fellowship, but Anniel is the first I know of to disappear by death. It’s always saddening when one of your fellowship dies. At least she died peacefully. And she will indeed be missed.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      I am saddened to hear of Annie’s death. She brought a gentleness to StubbornThings which will be missed.

      Please express my condolences to her son the next time you speak to him.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Yes, she brought a gentleness. And although I have no problem with frankness, what passes for writing and opinion in the wider internet world tends to be laced with just the polar opposite of Kaepernickan grievance. It may be wrapped in red, white, and blue — and rightly so — but still lacking gentleness, clarity, and proportionality.

        The Annie Archives can be found here. Annie’s first article was Defending Sarah Palin. That already set her apart from most because many so-called conservatives were running away from Palin. And although I haven’t always agreed with some a Palin’s views, I always understood that she was the line in the sand between red, white, and blue and the poisonous Kaepernickan universe.

        Anyone who defended Sarah Palin was alright by me.

  2. Steve Lancaster says:

    I did not know Annie except from her writing but she was always polite and gracious. The world is a lesser place without her.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      One of my thrills last summer was meeting one of Annie’s children (David) and his two daughters. I believe the count is she has five children (3 sons and 2 daughters?). That gave me a connection that I still cherish. I have not met most of you. But as you say, Steve, we can know people from their writing.

      And sometimes not. I think we have our “real life” aspect and our online aspect. And experience has taught me not to assume that they are one and the same. But I think Annie had a fluid, natural, and sincere style that reflected who she was. Not a lot of puffed-up pretense. There was no bashing people into submission with intellectual excess or verbosity. She never tried to win an argument (at least online…we’ll have to ask Bear about this as far as husband duties) with sheer volume of words.

      She took God’s gift of expressing herself and ran with it. It was my core idea when forming this site that most Americans had more wisdom in their little finger than most politicians and talking-heads had in their entire body and paid-at-taxpayer-expense staff. I would perhaps revise that over-estimation of America given what I’ve found. I’ve found that our entertainment culture, starved of the basic homespun decency, has degenerated the American soul to an extent that still surprises me.

      So, yes, Annie will be missed. Very view Annies are being created these days. We would all do well to emulate her love for this country and for her family.

  3. Gibblet says:

    I appreciated Annie’s insights, experiences, and the wisdom about life she shared with us through her articles. I will miss her here. How thoughtful it is of Anniel’s family to let us know of her passing, and what our ST community meant to her.

  4. Tom Riehl Tom Riehl says:

    I’m grateful for the time I shared with her, and will miss her terribly. She was a truly gifted and gracious person in her writings. Godspeed, indeed.

  5. Fenevad says:

    Just to update, my mother passed away early Wednesday, Alaska time from heart failure. She had gone to the ER on Sunday and was in the ICU within a short time. By Tuesday we had a full picture of her condition, and it was clear that she wasn’t going to come home. At the time we expected her to plug along for a while and possibly go to a care facility, but then her condition deteriorated rapidly and within a few hours of getting the call that she had taken a turn for the worse, she passed with her Bear and Alex holding her hands. She did not suffer and she got to die in her beloved Alaska where she came in 1960 as an adventurous young woman.

    In recent years as her physical horizons had slowly collapsed to just a few rooms, she embarked on a remarkable odyssey of the mind. For her, Stubborn Things was her way of connecting to the broader world and sharing ideas that were deeply important to her. As friends left Alaska or passed away, she found a community of people show shared her passions and ideas. So we, as a family, are grateful to you for helping her find a way to transcend the limits of her failing body and find purpose.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      This sounds frighteningly familiar. I basically spend my time in the hotel I live in, mostly in our room, except for medical visits (and a lot of that gets done in the room). And having been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation and congestive heart failure in January 2012, I could go at any time. And in the meantime, books and blogging (a lot of it here) keep my horizons beyond the hotel.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Thank you for sharing the information about your mother. We all loved her. It was a pleasure that we could have served in some small way as a way for her to share her life and wisdom. She will not be forgotten.

      Blessings and prayers to you and your family. May you comfort each other in this time of grief. It too shall pass. To my mind, Annie was about sunrises, Alaskan glacier valleys, and Northern Lights. There was always something lighting her way…and ours.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      I am glad to hear your mother had her loved-ones around her at the end.

      I must say that like the cheerful warrior, Annie was a cheerful writer. One could feel her happiness in each line.

      I am so glad that she was able to share this happiness at ST. We have all gained by it.

      If Brad does nothing else of note in life, he has earned Brownie points by giving Annie a platform from which to spread her joy.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        If Brad does nothing else of note in life, he has earned Brownie points by giving Annie a platform from which to spread her joy.

        Trying hard, as always, not to make this all about “me.” But something — perhaps Providence, perhaps most likely pure Stubborness — kept me going to maintain this site — in no small part because of the confidence shown in very tangible ways by Annie (and Bear) and Mr. Tarzwell, among others. But those two are/were special. As much as I tried to give up, they wouldn’t let me.

        What parent hasn’t done the same, not giving up on a child because he or she felt that some purpose was guiding them, that their efforts were not in vain?

        This website could disappear tomorrow and it would be missed as little as one lonely sailboat capsizing in the ocean. But we are aboard her. We float. I built the hull and did some bailing. But people such as Annie were the sail and the wind in the sail.

        Seriously, I’ve been very discouraged about this site. And I’ve tried to express it in a way that did not besmirch anyone here in particular. The failings are almost always about oneself, of course. But did Providence perhaps give me a little boost, a little current flowing in a helpful direction?

        Artistically, I’m a collaborator, by nature. I would be embarrassed to have BradNelson.com with every little thing being what I have to say. I want people to use this site. Annie did. Annie was not shy about it. She did not cripple herself with false humility. She had something to say and said it. I hope others can learn from her.

        • GlennG says:

          Brad, I haven’t posted here in a year or so but I would stop by now and then, mainly to see if there was something new from Annie. Her stories were genuine and open and she made me feel the kinship I had with her – as a Christian, as an American, as a human being.

          I’m sorry for your struggle in running this blog and I’m sorry I couldn’t be a contributor in making it better, but I wanted to thank you for providing the place where I met Annie.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            Thanks, Glenn. We certainly miss you here.

            Annie was always a breath of fresh air. She and Mr. Kung, in particular, used this site to do more than just bitch about the endless offenses committed in our culture.

            And in a time when we have the polar opposites of President Trump and a truly deranged media (and gallery of Leftist mobs) — exacerbated by the Paul Ryan establishment arm of do-nothing-ism — I would be ashamed of myself if there was not a struggle involved in determining how to intersect with social and political events in an online format.

            Much of the culture has gone stark, raving nuts and I have no wish to follow. Annie and Mr. Kung branched out and found other things to say, other ways to express things of importance.

            I realize now that I was in error thinking that an online site that discussed the politics of the day could be immune to the vortex of The Daily Drama. And with the passing of Annie, I will reassess the viability of this site. It’s become particularly clear to me that the cream cannot generally rise to the top in the rolling-boil kettle of discontent and grievance. I need to pare this site down to non-political things and hope “the better angels of our nature” will surface.

            And we will all miss one angel, in particular.

            • GlennG says:

              Thanks Brad.

              Truthfully, I stopped posting because my political opinion ran counter to yours and my persistence crossed the threshold of annoyance. I knew I wasn’t contributing in a positive way so the best course for everyone was for me to leave.

              Putting aside political dialogue, I’m not sure I have much to offer. I suppose we all have homespun vignettes but I’m not sure those would be interesting to others and I don’t write well enough to make it seem interesting. So I’m left in the same position of not being able to contribute the way you want.

              I hope you’re able to keep the blog going, but if not, I thank you for what you’ve already given me and others.

              • Timothy Lane says:

                Well, I suspect you could contribute comments on non-political subjects such as book reviews. And I certainly share your hope that Brad can keep things going.

              • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

                Greg, I was always for a diversity of opinion around here. And this place can be a bit of a boot camp. It’s not supposed to be an echo-chamber of back-slapping “Likes” as Facebook is.

                You think Steve Lancaster and I don’t have strong disagreements? We’re as different as night and day on some things. But he’s stuck around because (I think) he finds this place to be a little less stuffy than most. We have our own kind of baloney, of course. Everyone does. But it’s not the stale, aged, ripened baloney that is 99% of the internet. When we differ or are just plain wrong, I’d like to think that most people here do so honestly and are not just regurgitating someone else’s soundbyte.

                I haven’t asked that people think my way but that they think for themselves. And even more than that, I asked them to make the effort to improve their thought and writing. Many people schlep out an article — seemingly having been a product of the “Gold star for just showing up” generation — and wonder why I either don’t publish it or have some criticism of it.

                Where would any of us have been without that stern 3rd grade (pick your own example or grade) teacher who taught us something and held us to standards? Facebook, on the other hand, is geared precisely for the instant-gratification culture, particularly one geared toward entertainment uber alles.

                I always envisioned this place as sort of a Diogenes Club. And I don’t mean stuffy, egotistical, or overdone intellectualism. I meant it to be an island of sanity, reality, and good taste (and thought) in what is obviously a sea of mediocrity and narcissism.

                This is the central reason it was not Brad.com. I’m at my own best when interacting with others, including being corrected a time or three.

                Annie, bless her heart, honored the spirit of this place. She didn’t just get behind the keyboard and vent all of that day’s pent-up bitching. She sometimes certainly had a good critique ready for the nonsense-of-the-day being broadcast to us by the Vulgarians. But that was only a part of what she did literarily. She had more than one arrow in her quiver. Her Alaskan Army Knife (as opposed to a Swiss Army Knife) have a whole lot of blades and gadgets to choose from.

                Other people (and I’m not talking about you) have one sharp axe to grind and little more. And who, I say, wants to come online for fun and enrichment and take part in little more than an ongoing rant or be completely unchallenged in one’s own bullshit?

                Not me. And Annie always took criticism with grace. When I had had enough of gratuitous exhibitionist bitching, I set the simple rule that if you wanted to publish an article about politics, it must be a report about what you, or someone else, is doing to actually combat the left, to actual reform the things that need reforming. That was not then, and is not now, too much to ask.

                Annie at the time offered to scale back and hold to this rule. She had by then already been knighted a StubbornFellow and had free rein to write what she wanted, when she wanted. I would have none of curtailing her efforts or going back on my word. And she continued on gamely.

                What StubbornThings has revealed to me is that it is damn difficult in this world ruled by Vulgarians, and where entertainment and self-aggrandizement are central, how difficult it is to have an online Diogenes Club. I’ve tried to guide people. Hey, if you’ve made a visit to, say, Mount Rushmore, I would say, give us your personal impressions. Wrap us in the warm blanked of Americana.

                A few have done that. But most get online just to bitch. Annie was such a welcome exception. She will be missed. The site can’t help but change without her.

  6. pst4usa says:

    My condolences to her family and to all of us here at Stubborn Things as well. When we pray after the lost of a loved one, we usually pray for the one we lost to be in God’s loving arm’s; but in Annie’s case, I for one am also sure she is there now. So my prayers will be more for the family and for them to find the inner peace and strength that only comes from God.
    I also always admired Annie and her gentle way of writing, she will be missed.

  7. David says:

    Loved her columns.
    Peace to her family during this difficult time.

  8. GlennG says:

    Annie, I knew you without ever meeting you. You touched me. I’ll remember you. I look forward to meeting you when my day comes.

  9. Rosalys says:

    I’m so sad to have stopped by ST, only to discover that we have lost our dear Annie. I so enjoyed her funny little stories, and her opinions, more often than not, were spot on. My condolences, and prayers go out to her family.

    Our loss is heaven’s gain.

    P.S. Brad, don’t shut ST down!

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Thanks for the vote of confidence, Rosie. And for all your past support. It all has helped enormously. We’ll miss Annie, and if anything we need to keep her stories out there for at least another few years if we can manage it.

  10. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    10/10/17: I put a little clickable graphic down at the bottom of the page for Annie’s Archive. It will stay there for the foreseeable future.

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