Monday, October 8, 2012

Days 4 & 5 - Alabama Trip

Friday and Saturday October 5-6, 2012

I’m learning that everything takes longer traveling in the bus.  You stop for gas, stop for coffee, stop to pee, stop for lunch.  So I got to Huntsville later than expected – about 4 PM.  Fortunately, I’ve got the time and it feels like a miracle.  Believe me, I'm not complaining.

Charlotte and Carla welcomed me warmly.  Are they capable of anything else?  They are mother and daughter and my 1st and 2nd cousins.  No doubt they think I'm quite mad to be traveling this way but are too polite to say it out loud.

We have had such fun the past two days!  They took me out to dinner Friday night and that was the last time we left the house.  We had plans for Saturday but, about 4 PM, we stopped pretending and decided to stay put.  The fact that it was gray and rainy helped.  This is the house that my parents and I visited many times over the years and I relished being back in a place of such good memories. 

And, of course, we have been talking and laughing non-stop.  Staying up late, sleeping late.  All good stuff. 

We’ve shared a lifetime.  How lucky we were to have such a great extended clan– each member gentle and loving.   I think we always knew it.  I sure did. 

We watched 2 hours of home movies that I had never seen before and all of it touched me deeply.  It was touching in a way that one can only experience looking backwards, knowing how their stories end.  A lantern on the stern.  At 54, I am the youngest of my generation, and the past is starting to feel pretty poignant.  

Watching that young, hopeful, skinny, energetic bunch - all gone now - reminded me of this poem

~ Departures ~

They seemed to all take off at once: Aunt Grace
whose kidneys closed shop;
Cousin Rose who fed sugar
to diabetes;
my grandmother’s friend
who postponed going so long
we thought she’d stay.

It was like the summer years ago
when they all set out on trains
and ships, wearing hats with veils
and the proper gloves,
because everybody was going
someplace that year,
and they didn’t want
to be left behind.

~ Linda Pastan ~


  1. A very touching poem. Many older people feel left behind and lonely. Family really helps.

  2. The laughs are best with family or those we have a long history with.

  3. Love the poem; reminds me of the care facility where my 93 yr old Mom is now (she calls it "god's waiting room"). Her friends get older, frailer and then drift off like falling autumn leaves.

  4. I loved the poem. I think my Dad feels that way. It's so fun to visit with family. They are the ones who knew you back when, and will always remember special times. Glad you had so much fun.

    BTW, I DID put olive oil in the pan and microwaved it for two minutes before putting in the fish. For one thing, the olive oil was too strong. I think what you said - use an oil spray - would be better. I have some PAM, and I'll keep experimenting. I want to try veggies. :)

    1. Keep me posted - I want to try veggies too. Yes, spray oil is the way to go for the pan.

  5. Great poem! I've never had that camaraderie with family ... You are one of the lucky ones ;) what fun...

  6. Beautiful, bittersweet poem, Kim. Glad you got to go back. :)

  7. Glad you were able to make that trip and have such a great visit. Crazy for traveling like that? Maybe :-) But I know you wouldn't trade it for anything right now!

  8. ENJoy your time. Don't you just want to pinch yourself in disbelief!? :-)

  9. Glad you were able to spend time with family. Watching the home movies must have been fun and sad all at once. My parents died in 2004 and we haven't watched the movies yet. Soon though...


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