Thursday, July 30, 2009

HOME - a Family Reunion

My son and I recently went to Missouri to attend my mother’s family reunion which was twice as sweet as it was only days after her birthday. There was a special program this year at the reunion to recognize and honor James Edward H., who died in battle on French soil in WW1. His gravestone had never been appropriately decorated, but the VFW had a memorial plaque installed recently. And now his story was told to the dozens who gathered round his gravestone, by the nieces and nephews he never knew, some reading letters that he had written home to his parents. This was followed by a 21 gun salute from the local color guard and taps, played by two bugles, echoed over the country side. Many were moved to tears, as was I.

Afterwards, my immediate family drifted away from the crowd, for this is the same small country cemetery where my father was laid to rest two summers earlier. Mom wanted to see if the grass seed they had scattered earlier in the summer had been embraced by the abundant summer rains, and we were all thankful to see that it had. Finally, the right combination of seed to water to sun.

My mother, noting that others had marked their family plot with wrought iron hooks, had installed one near my Dad’s stone. Stating that she was sure that my father would have liked it, my Mom chose a kinetic sculpture with cups of bright colors that moved with the motion of our presence. My brother had securely wired the metal mobile to the hook. I stood with my brothers and sister and we were happy with Mom’s inspiration. I gazed over the small farm pond nearby and listened for my fathers beloved quail, who had called out so gently during his grave side service … but I did not hear their voice this day.

As we drove away on the old narrow gravel road, I noted out loud that the colorful baubles were no longer in motion. My brother quietly acknowledged that they were not moving as we drove in earlier. Had they only been in motion as we gathered round to spend these precious moments with my father’s memory? moved by …..?
I am not surprised that I was not the only one who felt Dad’s presence.

* annette

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