A Memorable, "Memorial" Time!

He followed me into the kitchen, and took his stance with hands on hips. We shared a look eye to eye, as he reached out with one arm and draped it around my shoulders I suddenly knew what was coming…

We have had such an extraordinary "memorial day" week-end holiday, the family (the ones that could) gathered for holiday once more at the family "Hideaway" farm. Earlier in the week my daughter and I readied the house. Following the long winter, and extremely rainy spring it actually needed very little 'tending to", it had stood solitary and empty through snow, wind and torrential rain storms, and now seemed to invite us in with doors flung wide, emitting the sense of welcome.

After opening the windows to air the stale rooms we double checked the kitchen (the most crucial area for my family), we felt confident that our three days of picnicking would be "on!" The beds had all been covered with plastic, and it appeared that nothing had napped or had a prolonged siesta for the long period during the absence of humans. The smell of coal dust from the old furnace was also long gone.

Our "East TN." son his wife, daughter and eldest son decided to occupy the house this week-end. However the sixteen and twenty one year old grandsons decided this would be grand chance for quality time with the grandparents. It is true that windows sliding down, doors slamming and one hundred and thirty plus years of aged creaking floor boards can be unnerving. It is also true that the "Dairy Queen" is within four blocks of our house and that is a sure enticement to stay in the city.

My husband's recuperation from heart surgery had kept our garden waiting. Family time is finally here, and it is time for the ground to be broken, disked and planted. Our game plan was established, and this is how we would spend part of the holiday. I have never known gardening to be so hysterically funny. We sang old hymns, spirituals, pantomimed the songs and actually got the job done. We ate mulberries straight from the tree that grew along the garden edge and threw dirt clods at each other.

My job was to hold a broken tobacco stick at one end of the plot, and my husband would decide where the end of my row was, when he was sure it was correct he would stake his pole in the soil and call the row straight. So funny, this decision making from a man who has macular degeneration (slightly), our veggies should establish an interesting pattern as they green up!

The next day called for more time spent by the grandsons riding the old Farm-All tractor and bush hogging the smaller fields that are not cropped, they loved that. We also had archery practice going on. The guys sank the new water pump and "hooray" for the first time in ten years we have water flowing from a deep underground spring. After that event, is when we found out the ones who had gone fishing earlier in the day had re-discovered the sand bar along the creek bank. The creek is named "Pup", I will not recount why, I'll just leave it to your imagination.

With lawn chairs in tow; we stumbled through thorny weeds to reach the sandy bank. Three eager kids hit the cold creek water, as soon as we arrived. The far side of the creek had a steep slope covered in trees with boughs hanging over the water. There was one visible animal path leading up the cliff to the woods, and that site quickly became a "mud slide". With the help of the hanging limbs, the three "silly ones" would slip and slide up, and come bottom bouncing, and bumping down into the water. The cool dark green of the stream had turned brown in the splash area, but just as quickly cleared again in the languid, but ever moving current.

These are days to remember, to hang on to, and play over and again in my dreams. The laughter of the adults and the young adults, the humor, the daring stunts, the food, and the "I'm tired, but it is a good tired", you know what I mean. I will never forget. I will always remember this time of sun kissed and heaven blessed days. I have loved every stage of my family's life, but some things are becoming especially rare and precious, and "time" is as gold dust that escapes through the fingers.

This week-end with my family has been a "memorial celebration" a pause in many busy lives, for remembering those in our extended family who have passed through our lives. The days are also a memory making time to be treasured as they become a permanent part of us and are worn in our hearts and over our flesh and bones like expensive suits of clothing, they fit so well and never wear out and they beacon to us to adorn ourselves in them each day.

The final day and I am at home in my kitchen cleaning up after a last quickie lunch before the travelers start their four and a half hour trek home. I am looking into the only pair of blue eyes in my family; they belong to my fourth grandchild who is my second grandson. There is something he has been praying about, and he has something to say…

Hugs, kisses and tears , a racing heart beat and my imagination has kicked into over-drive and in my mind, I am already saying goodbye to my "all American boy" and preparing to be the Grandmother of one who is ready to join the United States Air-Force. This coming week or the next he expects to be called in for his physical. The written test he had taken lasted several hours, and his grade was excellent. It was five answers short of a perfect score! His only possible hang up is the fact his shoulder was injured a number of times during high school wrestling, but his own doctor is sending documentation that it is healed. He was advised by many not to mention the shoulder, but that doesn't meet his moral code. He will lay it all out on the table and let the chips fall where they may.

Behind my heavy eye lids, I am seeing Old Glory waving in the wind. I hear the blare of trumpets and the start of a parade; I see a blondish head and a handsome smiling face balanced above straight, strong, shoulders as pride is carried well. Through a blurry vision, I suddenly see a mud covered "bank slider" hitting the water with a loud "Whoop!" I feel muscular arms hugging my neck, and I am filled with the strangest feeling of nostalgia for the things that have yet to happen. I am bursting with the honor and glory of it all, but the back side of my heart is filled with trickling tears and in my mind, I am guiding God's hand to completely cover this one, to hold him closely and tenderly as he becomes the man he was meant to be.

May 26-30, 2011; I will always remember, I will never forget.

This was truly a God touched memorable, "memorial" week-end.

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