This has been a good holiday season, as they go. Of course, there’s always something that sheds a bit of a dark shadow on things. This year, it was the theft of my sons wheels off his car a couple of weeks ago, and the extensive damage the scoundrels caused to the body of the vehicle in removing the wheels. We just found out yesterday that the insurance adjuster has deemed the beloved vehicle (my son’s a lover of cars) a total loss.
Let me get to the point hinted at in the title of this piece. My aunt, the sister of my dear mom, who passed this past July, wanted a formal sit-down Christmas dinner party. Aunt Mary is the last of the off spring from the union of my maternal grandparents. I think she felt a strong urge to get as many of the four generations under her together before she’s ushered into that fine, gold-laden, eternal place of residence. Except for the dressing-up requirement she placed on us all, I looked forward highly to the somewhat abnormal holiday event.
My aunt lives in Memphis, Tennessee, which is a short, two-hour drive from Little Rock, Arkansas, where I live. Chris (the good wife) and I decided to kill two birds with one stone. We drove over to Jonesboro, Arkansas, a couple of hours from Little Rock on Christmas Eve to spend some time with our eldest daughter and her family. Jonesboro is about one hour from Memphis, so we were able to get up early on Christmas Day, revel in some good family time, and drive to Memphis in the afternoon for the dinner party. Whew! This sounds like a lot of activity for and old guy like me. By the grace of God, the old bones held out well.
Although I had a minor degree of trepidation about the event, the party was a joy to experience. Of course, I knew a lot less of the people in attendance than were present. There was a time, when I was young, that most of our relatives lived close by. We all knew each other, and family gatherings were often impromptu. We were all just plain old country folk, who didn’t put on a lot of airs when it came to fellowship with each other. It wasn’t uncommon to just drop by someone’s house without notice at all, sit a while, catch up on the latest happenings and move on.
As I sat amongst the crowd of cousins, (first, second, third and a smattering of little ones, who brought up the fourth rank), I truly did feel old. I don’t use the term old here pejoratively at all. In fact, I felt a sense of blessed honor. I was the second oldest of the cousins, stemming from the union of my maternal grandparents to be at the event. My first cousin, born a few months before I wasn’t there. The reality hit me that once my beloved aunt Mary transitions (and I’m in no hurry for her to do so) the number one cousin from aunt Mary’s oldest sibling and I will be the elders of the clan. We’ll occupy positions for which we didn’t choose. The natural shedding of generational layers will place us in the positions of family elders, currently occupied by aunt Mary. This natural unraveling reminds me of Commander Spock’s often-used farewell, “Live long and prosper.” It’s indeed true, if we live long enough, we’ll occupy a position of honor and prosperity (not necessarily with a high price tag) for which we’ll be grateful.
I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.