90.....

.... I had the opportunity today to attend my Great Aunt Louise's 90th birthday party, and I enjoyed myself entirely too much.....

... the event was held just a stone's throw from The Ancient Family Plot where most of my ancestors from the past two centuries are buried, and I thought on that a lot when I wasn't eating birthday cake, wandering the grounds smoking cigarettes, or swilling unusual punch.....

..... at one point an aging cousin labored up the hill to where I and another cousin were chatting..... she paused at the crest of the hill and addressed me, "young man, what is your name?"...... "I'm called Eric, ma'am..... and you must be Delores, yes?"......... "Oh!.... why yes I am!..... I thought you were overseas!?.... and the conversation continued down that road for a while....... it is always thus when such large families meet up, I guess....... everyone goes their own way once they reach a certain age, and it is only seldom that we all get together again.... and yet we somehow always remember each other slightly - if not always correctly..... but that is the way with memories, isn't it?.....

..... but as she started to leave I said, "so, you never moved back to Florida, eh... you and your family stuck it out and stayed here in Tennessee all these years?"....... she smiled a white-haired smile and said, "no..... my next move will to right over there, Eric...... ".... and she pointed towards the tiny cemetery where her AND my ancestors are all hanging out....... it was odd, sobering, and somewhat comforting at the same time........ so I nodded at her and smiled...... "It's not such a bad place to be, you know?...... the trees are lovely..... there are always fresh flowers..... and I bet Uncle J.R. is an absolute hoot when Halloween rolls around every year...."...... she laughed, gave me a hug, and told me to quit smoking...... that's family, no?...... even if you haven't spoken in 15 years, any woman older than you considers herself a surrogate mother to you when yours isn't within earshot....... and hey, that's OK....... it is As It Should Be...... after all, this IS the South.....

.... Aunt Louise's birthday bash was held in the basement of the New Church, and we all filled it to near capacity.......... but across the tiny 1 & 1/2 lane road that runs between the two building sits the True Church..... a small, stone, plain structure that holds more memories of my family than many can even remember..... births, funerals, weddings...... my own parents were wed there back in 1969 (and I still have the Kowloon-bought suit in my closet that my Dad wore that day.)........ ... my Mother's parents were married there....

.... I took a few photos, but they didn't turn out that great, so I will leave you all wondering........

..... but all that I can say is, after a great many conversations with a lovely group of people, well, may we all live to be 90 years old..... and be half as loved as Louise was today.......

by Eric on August 07, 2010 | Bullshit (4) | TrackBack (0) | Ummm, Ok....
Bullshit So Far

What a great day you had. Made me homesick.
Birthday wishes to your Great Aunt!

Bullshitted by Jean on August 8, 2010 12:12 AM

Your family gathering sounds very Southern. I wondered why I always offer advice to my nephs - a Southern thang.

A friend in NM celebrated her 90th birthday yesterday, too. She came to the US after WWII from Germany. She and her husband helped start some of the first ski areas in the Rockies. Her roots are not deep, but it is still a good story.

Bullshitted by Lou on August 8, 2010 07:45 AM

Richie's Daddy was a Marine in Viet Nam. He manned the gun in the door of a helicopter. I might not be saying that correctly....Anyway, he was the youngest Marine to ever get Staff Sargeant...He was such a great guy. You would have liked him. He was born and raised in Atlanta. Met Richie's mom at a church youth group. Only girl he ever dated.

Bullshitted by Hol,der on August 8, 2010 12:28 PM

I'm with your cousin,,,the next move I'm gonna make is one 6 ft under!! This moving to Texas is eatin' my lunch for sure!! But hey, I'm back in the south again and that's a good thing!

Bullshitted by Michele on August 10, 2010 04:53 PM