Today Mark and I went to a memorial service for his uncle who recently passed away. We met our daughter, her husband and Marks mom there. The gathering was at the Frog Creek Town Hall. Now that’s middle of no where country right there! Good old Minong Wisconsin. A place I never imagined living but always enjoyed visiting.
What I realized today is that I am soooo thankful for family. This memorial service was more like a small (I mean small) family reunion. Marks dad was one of 15 kids. Today as we gathered together we see that the number has gone from 15 to 4. There are four left. But the one thing that sticks out about these gatherings is that there really is no sadness. I mean of course we are sad that they are no longer with us, but I watched as the family just laughed, shared stories, and ate. And ate , and ate, and ate! This is what we do!
From Aunt Janes homemade baked beans to Aunt Marges potato salad, to Aunt Kitty’s awesome pistachio and fudge striped cookie dessert, to the homemade buns with pulled pork (or chicken!?! Haha) and apple pie bars with the perfect amount of icing glazed over them.I wasn’t hungry when I got there. But we stuck around long enough to clean up and of course take a few to go containers. I decided I better take a spoon along too because I knew that potato salad was NOT making it home. Yes I ate the whole container of potato salad. Then started in on the BBQ pork… Or chicken… Still not sure what it was but it was GOOD! The apple pie bars would have to wait til I get home. Too messy to eat on the road .
As we cleaned up I pictured in my mind what it must have been like for these family members growing up. What their kitchen must have been like. How each child must have had their own special duties. I laugh wholeheartedly at the spunk of Aunt Jane… And completely enjoy ANY time I get to visit with Aunt Marge. Of course then there is Cindy… Always willing to lend a helping hand. It was just so fun to clean up in that kitchen with these ladies.
Then there are a few of the men in the family. I sat in awe as I watched our cousin Josh come in with his new baby girl and then to see his Grandpa, Marks uncle Steve come stand next to him. To see how much they look alike. To think to myself “THAT is exactly what Josh is going to look like when he’s older”. Marks cousin Mike comes in and the two of them stand facing each other talking, telling stories, and it’s like they are the mirror image of each other, the way they laughed, the way both their eyebrows raised the same way at the same time. Let’s not forget Uncle Mike…. The flash of that Waggoner butt crack..the pants just do NOT stay up on those Waggoner butts…John, Marks cousin. It was his dad who passed away. The jokes he and Mark would play on people saying they were twins….. What you need to know is that Mark is 6’3″…. Husky, broad shoulders, BIG GUY…. John, is I don’t know…. 5’8″ maybe?!? Short… Small… NOT husky… But Mark passed it off as they were not IDENTICAL TWINS DUH… they were fraternal. Bahaha
It really made me appreciate the privilege of being a part of this family. It made me realize the importance of always trying to make time for family.
I just think sometimes it is too easy to make an excuse to “not go” or to “not call” or whatever the case may be. I realize that these older family members especially really enjoy just the simple company and conversation. Heck, don’t we all? If given the chance to be a bright shining spot in someone’s day why not do it? When you get a prompting to call someone, call them…. When someone randomly pops in your mind, they popped in for a reason… So call them, stop by, write them a letter, send them a card. I guarantee you didn’t think about them for no reason.
So today, celebrate and enjoy your family… Enjoy those little moments and learn from the older wiser family members. They have lived through a lot and have a lot to share. Let their life be a continuing story to pass on through the generations.