by Cindy Hester
I got to travel back "home" again this weekend for another one of those precious times spent visiting with Mom. As I told in an earlier blog, Mom and I have found a special joy in taking at least one day of the weekend to re-connect with family members I have not seen in a while, or to re-visit places from my childhood. I so enjoy these flashbacks in time. It seems that as I have grown older, things have become more complicated, and time has become more valuable. It saddens me how little time there is to truly soak in the temporary yet priceless gifts of those dearest to us.
We happened to have my four year old little grandson, Randy, with us this time, and he got the pleasure of going visiting with Mom and me. I will have to admit that I was a little concerned about how bored he might get. After all, he was going to have to hang out with older people all day. We ended up going to see my "Uncle" Carney White, who is really my cousin. I was taught it was improper to call a 96 year old cousin simply Carney, and Mr. White seems way to formal for a close relative. As a result, I have quite a few cousin "Aunt" and "Uncles". Uncle Carney and my Mom are actually first cousins, and for a 96 year old man, he is about as sharp as they come. He still drives, dresses spiffy, and has the spirit of a 30 year old man.
As I sat there with Randy curled against my side listening to stories about my great-grandparents, my great aunt, and my grandmother, I realized what a thin thread life truly is. We are but a spot on a timeline, placed here on this earth with only a brief moment in time to make our mark. It seems only yesterday I sat curled against my grandmother's side visiting with her older relatives and listening to stories while vividly reliving each moment in my imagination. I could almost hear the echo of my grandmother's joyful laughter as she lovingly held me close to her side. The smell her perfume and the feel of the clean, soft cotton of her dress against my cheek came flooding back to my senses. In these too few moments, felt I had reached an intersection in time. Watching Randy soak in the stories, it seemed in that moment I became congruently connected to my past, my present, and my future. I found myself wishing for some way Randy and I could go back in time and meet some of these good folks who passed on years before my birth.
After leaving Uncle Carney's house, we went to another of my mother's first cousins on my grandfather's side of the family. "Uncle" Jett (again, it's a respect thing) and "Aunt" Shirley met us out front grinning from ear to ear eagerly awaiting the visit. It was so good to see them once again and to be in their home after all of these years. Despite the fact that Uncle Jett has to rely on a walker to get around these days, his sense of humor and playfulness were as apparent today as they were 40 years ago. Watching him, I felt an overwhelming wave of loss remembering my grandfather Moore as I realized how very much alike they are. Aunt Shirley's kind eyes twinkled welcomingly as we visited about times we all shared in the past and caught up on events of the present.
As the day slowly came to a close and the visits ended, an empty, lonely feeling crept into my heart. I felt reluctant to leave these moments behind. They come only once in a lifetime, and they are just that...moments. I found myself wanting to slow time and cling to each second. I watched Randy picking out his toy at the Dollar with store with the money my Mom, his Great-Grandmother had given him as a treat for being so good all day. This simple act served as a reminder that I am now in the process of creating memories for him, Hollie and Tripp.
Perhaps most important of all, I realized how blessed and highly favored I am to have the continuity of a truly wonderful family. The solid values and principles of my ancestors have carried down through the generations and stood the test of time, living on in these precious folks I had the distinct priviledge of visiting. My prayer is that God would give me a portion of their strength to carry this heritage forward. Thank you Mom, Uncle Carney, Aunt Shirley, and Uncle Jet for allowing me to share a few of your precious moments, and for creating memories I will always treasure.
Job 12:12 "With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding."
Psalms 71:18 "Now also when I am old and greyheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come."