Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Linoleum was clean but cracked. Dirt of the ages sunk into cracks between the tiles. Women in cape dresses of soft prints wore organza bonnets. Grocery shopping with my mama many years and miles ago. Times change. I'm in an area where prayer bonnets are non-existent, cape dresses likewise. If I want to see them I'd have to make and wear them myself; somehow I doubt my husband would accept me going that far back to my roots.

Pigheaded and stiff necked is what the court papers say of one ancestor in the palatine. The traits breed true down the generations with a certain body type and emotional sensitivity. Nobody will blink at those rare times when once someone stops mid-sentence to look straight in your eyes and deliver some short pronouncement. We don't speak of it. Maybe for fear that outsiders will misunderstand- maybe for distrust that someone will make too much of it. And the body type- as I get older my grandmother says I grow more and more like her mother. My daughter is my thirty-years-younger twin. I was my mother's. So goes a family. We are all parts of one puzzle no matter how many states or mountain ranges separate us. As the aunts and uncles and cousins begin to go their ways apart from one another, as our lives take us away and bind us to new families, it gives me a warm comfort. While we remember this family, while we remember holidays and early things, we're still together.

Traditions are good. Remembrance is good. Just be selective. Don't remember the harsh words, the tears, the family feuds over who did what to whom forty years ago. Remember the laughs. Watermelon at a picnic table while the sun sets and mosquitoes are competing for attention. Learning to spit the seeds at one another. The night you fell asleep talking with a cousin and watching movies. Youth can be a blessing- a going ahead with life.

Let it.

1 comment:

Wildflower said...

Aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. etc. should not go separate ways, into their own lives and leave behind the previous ones, as those are all a part of one life. You lead a sad existence if that is what you are doing... Extended families embellish our lives with richness, generations together ... all together ... is such a true gift we share. It bonds together our existence, and enriches our lives. It teaches our children, and their children, who we are ... and we learn from each of these generations. We share. We laugh.
We help each other. We support each other. We truly just love unconditionally all the time.
Distance does not separate the true love of family.