Friday, October 23, 2009

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Family Reunion

I have hardly slowed down since I came home from the family reunion and there wasn't a lot of time to blog while there but I wish I had taken the time. Blogging when emotions are raw and pure are good for the soul. Well, as long as those emotions are not angry and directed toward someone else . Or before your exhusbands funeral when you are hurt and confused.. not good then either.

One of the things that stood out to me over and over again while at our festivities were the looks on my aunts and uncles faces. I remember as a kid lots of laughter and fun. I think maybe I got my " funny side" from the Prince family. My moms family is an " easy to smile" family. This trip as I looked around the room I didnt see as much laughter and smiles. My moms brothers and sisters are all in thier 60 -80's now. I saw an older generation looking and remembering and maybe even a look of sadness. Was it a look that seemed to whisper " This may be the last time I am here"? Was it a look that said " Times have changed"? Several times I wanted to ask " what are you thinking about ?" but I didnt want to break their silence and wasn't sure I could handle the answer I got. Sadness...

Seeing Geneviette with our family really made my heart smile. I think kids " now days" ( I guess using that term I put myself in a definate age bracket ) do not know their extended families as they should. Sometimes it is important to know where you are from to know the direction you are headed.

Speaking of..

I am so glad I got to see Dale. Dale is my cousin , formally known as Jimmy Dale. :) He is one of the people that has proven that a person can over come what they are dealt in life. He is professional, accomplished, handsome and kind... most of all kind. I was worried about Dale when this reunion was planned. I will just leave it at this - even a family that tends to be close minded can show love and compassion and respect when need be.

The food... My aunts are great cooks and such proud cooks. There was a cake the first day that had a tag on it called " the ugly cake". It might have been ugly but yum-o was it good. The second day I scanned the table looking for my favorite and said " My favorite cake is gone- the ugly cake." My sister in law looked and me and said " Debbie, I think that was the cake that was covered in ants yesterday and Brenda handpicked them out." hmm... I confirmed that it indeed was. Brenda didnt want to hurt Aunt Carolyn's feelings, so she didnt remove it from the table " and got MOST of the ants out." Yep... me.. the ant eater. Thanks for the heads up cousin! :)

The reunion itself was held in the Biscoe Community Building. This old building is where most of my aunt and uncles and my mom went to grade school. Next door to that was the Baptist Church where my mom and dad were married. I felt like I was standing on sacred ground... so full of stories and memories and where my story began.

Another vivid memory I have is of my aunts and uncles ( 9 of them ) standing around the piano singing old gospel songs. Aunt Rosey started playing and then Aunt Gerl joined in and then my mom. As I type this I feel a lump coming up in my throat. I know it was a high point for my mom. As they sang my Uncle WO broke down and cried. They put their arms around him and continued to sing. What a testimony of faith.. and love.

There was other singing. My cousin Little Bill - now we call him Bill. :) did an acapella version of Beaulah Land. You could see Bills love for the Lord as he sang. After his song was over he boldly told anyone that he would love to explain what this song means to him if they would like to hear it. Then.. three of my cousins did " Bobby Sue." Yes, they did.

Sunday the Prince family filled the little Methodist Church in Brassfield. There were flowers at the front in honor of my grandparents. They would have been so proud. Randy and I did special music. I almost broke down as I looked out and my cousin was wiping a tear from her eyes. Why was she crying? Did she too realize this might be the last time we are all together? My mom has cancer- ovarian. Her mom has had breast cancer for 15 years. Times like these are precious. As we left the church we drove past my dad who was walking down the gravel road past my grandparents old house to my aunts. Dad told Randy about having to bury a baby that mom miscarried at the corner of that old house . He said he put it in a coffee can and dug the hole. As he said it tears streamed down his face. So many things, So many... make us who we are today. So many things that we rarely talk about.

Even the prayers were different there. They prayed for the farmers and the land.

Sometimes I think I would love to live there.. where life is slower. Where kids still know what cotton fields are and say yes mam and no mam. Where the neighbors share a garden and put vegetables up for the winter... Where a shoe tree ( a tree with shoes from the grandkids nailed all the way to the top ) is acceptable yard decor. Ok, maybe not that... but I do think it was a better time.

It was good to see everyone and be reminded that families still do cherish the things that are important. Family.