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    Entries in family gatherings (3)


    Days To Remember

    How thankful we are…lots of great rain; cool, cool mornings…a break in the heat.  It’s been a good week.  Projects accomplished always make me happy, but time spent with family is even better.  Our niece, and her friends who were visiting, biked over to the house on Tuesday for a nice chat.  My sister came as well, she drove, and we roamed around, played in the creek, and took pictures.  While discussing area swimmin’ holes (they had already been swimming in an area river the day before), it was decided that they would try to find a place mentioned to me by one of the home school moms.  Blue Hole.  My niece took off work (a spur of the moment decision), they talked me into going, and we called for directions.

    This lovely, secret spot is a truly out-of-the-way place.  Interestingly, Arkansas has several areas called Blue Hole, and GB said he knows of one in Oklahoma.  I guess it’s a popular name for swimming nooks connected with streams and rivers.  After twists and turns, and travel down dirt roads (after passing a lovely, white country church building), we found it.  Or rather, drove right into it.  The creek traverses the road, and only pick-up trucks and SUV vehicles could safely cross.  It was a beautiful place.  And a ‘hole’ it truly was - a natural pond in the bend of flowing water.  Clear and cold, and deep enough to really swim.  There was even a rope tied to one of the trees on the bank.  The girls had a blast flinging themselves into the water and we were glad it was mostly sunny.  After collecting a few rocks, looking for crawdads, and playing with minnows, we dried off some and headed back home.  I’m very glad they talked me into going!

    As a last summer fling for some of our family (my sister starts work today and a niece begins college next week), we met for the weekly bowling game.  Earlier in the summer, my parents started bowling each week, and those who can meet them at the alley.  Several were able to make it this time—sister-in-law, niece, nephew, sister, and me.  Mother and daddy bowled on a league while we were growing up and they haven’t lost their knack.  We laughed, moaned, and made more ruckus than most other groups there.  A family of cheerers, clappers, and advisors, we always have a great time.  After a lovely lunch at a local sandwich shop (with mother and daddy as our hosts), we went our separate ways.  My sister and I for a short excursion to Pier 1, mother and daddy to Sam’s Club, and the others to the house.

    We will all meet again on Monday evening to celebrate another birthday.  A nephew is driving home today, after a summer internship at the Los Alamos Nuclear Facility, and his birthday is next week.  He heads back to college later this month and we’ll all be glad to have him home for a while!

    Yes, yes, great days.  Wonderful days to remember and hold dear.  Respites from the heat and from our work.  They are fun days, important days.  Connections are made stronger and we make memories that will see us through trying times.


    Amblings, possibly Ramblings

    I’m always surprised at how much hotter it is in Texas.  Well, not always hotter than Tulsa.  And since our home in Northwest Arkansas is almost due east of Tulsa, that seems strange.  More trees in our area?  More hills, less humidity?  Hhmmm…  The air conditioner runs all the time and I even want some ice in my water.  A nephew from my side of the family is in New Mexico for the summer.  Maybe it’s hotter there than here.  Maybe.

    Aldo’s funeral is Friday afternoon and family is already starting to gather.  Three of the four sons are here, as well as one daughter-in-law (me!); another daughter-in-law stopped by on her way to Tulsa from Houston (her father is having a medical procedure tomorrow) and a daughter, two granddaughters, and one great-granddaughter live here.  More family will arrive throughout the day tomorrow, including our sons - one flying in from NYC and the other driving in from western TN.

    It’s late, with GB and his two brothers conversing the night away as I sit typing.  They only see one another a couple of times a year, so no time is wasted sleeping.  While our children were visiting us last week, we drove down here to see my in-laws.  We are so very glad we did.  Just a few days after we left, Aldo slipped away to his heavenly home.

    It was so great to have our little family together for a week.  We miss our sons very much and are so proud of them.  We are thankful for our daughter-in-law and loved the time spent getting to know her even better.  Besides our trip to Texas, we went bowling with the extended family, had a family fun night at my parents, prepared a home feast of shrimp and scallops, and spent many hours talking.  The highlight, for GB and me, was an anniversary dinner gift from the kids.  They took us out for a fine, fine meal of excellent hors d’oeuvres, steak, seafood, trimmings, and dessert.  I must say that it was the best steak I’ve ever had.  No offense to GB’s grilling skills, but it was excellent.  Grilled asparagus and roasted brussel sprouts were my vegetable choices, and the steak was topped with a dollop of truffle butter.  We also enjoyed salmon, ahi tuna egg rolls, and fried calamari for our pre-meal feast.  I chose homemade blackberry ice cream with English walnuts for dessert.  Wowser!

    I think there are several morals to these amblings and possible ramblings - enjoy life.  Go with the flow.  “Mourn with those who mourn, rejoice with those who rejoice.”  Count your blessings.  Be thankful.


    Another Passage

    Another ending.  Well, a beginning for the one who has left us here.  Another ending, meaning, “So ends this life, May 31, 2011”.  Ending this earthly life to begin eternal life.

    GB’s stepfather passed away around midnight, at his home in Texas.  Is it true, the old saying?  “Death always comes in threes?”  Is it death, or is it just trouble, or general sorrow?  Can’t remember right now.  I don’t put much stock in ‘old sayings’, nor in ‘old wives’ tales’.  However, we will be going to a second funeral, less than two weeks after the first one.  And both close family members.  We experienced something of that last year.  GB’s uncle’s funeral was one day, and his aunt’s was the next.  They were brother-in-law and sister-in-law.

    Aldo and Dorothy were married 26 years.  She lost her first husband to cancer, GB’s dad.  Aldo suffered with many medical maladies, but died peacefully and painlessly.  A blessing for him, and for those who sat with him.  He gave our sons their first computer, a Commodore 64.  A popular computer these days, for those who can find them.  The boys programmed everything on that computer and learned so much.  Being from Argentina, Aldo exposed them, and us, to the wonderful Latin culture.  We have several great recipes he shared, full of fresh ingredients.  His mother was a fine cook, by all accounts, and we were glad to have met her over one Christmas.

    Shortly after they married, he became an American citizen, which made him proud.  Our sister-in-law cross-stitched a commemoration and he kept it, always, in the study.  Aldo loved to watch Jeopardy, and Spanish television.  He worked with the library as an English-Spanish translator; he loved to read and tinker around in his shop.

    Death is part of our life.  Meaning, we will experience the death of others and we should be preparing for our own.  We should not shy away from those facts, and we should share them with our children and grandchildren.  Families need to experience happy events together, and they should gather to say farewell to loved ones.  Children should be included, as is appropriate.  Meals taken together, conversation, sharing burdens - these are part of our living.  And part of how we face death.


    It is the will of God and Nature that these mortal bodies be laid aside, when the soul is to enter into real life; ‘tis rather an embrio state, a preparation for living; a man is not completely born until he be dead:  Why then should we grieve that a new child is born among the immortals? 

                                                                                                                                 ~Benjamin Franklin, 22 February 1756