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cousins and bird
Back when we were kids, it was nothing for every single one of my Daddy's family to pack up the kids and fried chicken and head to Mississippi for the yearly family reunion. Daddy had three older sisters who took care of him when he broke both arms as a boy when he fell out of the hay loft. I can so see them wiping his little man behind and shushing him the whole time! They lived on a pice of land where his Daddy farmed and the rest of them helped during and after the Great Depression. I'm talking hard times like nobody with an IPod ever thought about seeing. Every time I start feeling sorry for not having the money to get something, I try to remember that part of my history and be thankful.

Over the years the kids grew and didn't really have the desire to attend, so it turned into a gathering of cousins. They picked different places and came together every now and then to catch up. I've met many of them over the years though I coldn't tell you who all the seconds and thirds are.

Cousin Earl died this week after a long illness. His daughter Sandy is one third that I have stayed in touch with and she is home from West Virginia. Mom and Daddy and I are hooking up tomorrow for the funeral. Is it just me, or does it seem like more and more time is spent in the undertaker's parlor these days. I've gotta hand it to Yaya...she never misses a visitation if she can help it. I admire her for that...think Stephanie Plum's Grandma Mazur with high heels and lipstick. I don't do well in "stand in long lines and make small talk" situations, so I usually attend the service or show up at the graveside.

There is nothing more somber than standing under a funeral tent with an umbrella close by during a graveside service. The burial for my boss/friend's daddy was just such an occasion. Looked just like a freakin' Alfred Hitchcock movie. But sometimes I think that attending a burial on a pleasant day is worse because the whole world seems to be going on normally while the little congregation says good-bye to a loved one. Tomorrow is forecast to be cool and rainy.

I also believe that there is a lesson in each experience and relationship. Sometimes you don't see it until much later, which is kind of the case here. As hard as it is to deal with the grief that surrounds death, it is inevitable and the best thing that can be achieved is a big fat group hug for those who are hurting. A lot of my dearest friendships have been cemented in this way. When you go to the dang cemetary with somebody, you love 'em with all your heart.

Stay warm. Hug your pets. Kiss the wind.

Keep the faith ^j^
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