Today my mom and I journeyed across Kansas again, bound for her sister’s house near Wichita. Exactly one month ago we said “see you later” to my sweet Aunt Annie. Today we met with two of Annie’s children, my cousins, as they are sorting through their parents’ belongings, in preparation for selling the house.
It’s a bittersweet task. Memories swirl and tears flow and laughter rings out as stories are told. In fact, each item in the house has a story attached to it. My mom and cousins and I don’t always know the whole tale, which leads to wonderment and speculation. What a precious time we all spent this evening, cradling items, remembering, exclaiming over an uncovered treasure. My cousins are the most gracious of people, keeping a few keepsakes for themselves and sharing with the rest of the family so that we can all cherish an item that belonged to my aunt or my grandmother or even my great-great-grandmother. I’m so grateful for them.
Monday happens to be one of my cousin’s birthday. Greg is having one of those milestone birthdays and it was fun to visit with him and his wife tonight, reminiscing and laughing over one of my mom’s favorite stories about her nephew.
She was only 15 years old when Greg was born. She claims he was the most adorable baby and toddler. If this normally sweet boy was being a bit ornery, my just as ornery mother brought him into obedience by telling him there was a chicken hawk down the road that was going to get him.
Greg says it was several years before he even knew what a chicken hawk was! And that they didn’t gobble up wayward boys. The words “chicken hawk” still bring a smile to his face. I’ve always admired and appreciated my eldest cousin. With two sisters and four female cousins, the poor guy was badly outnumbered yet he never complained and was patient and kind to all the girls in the family.
We all dined this evening at a small family owned restaurant featuring seafood. The fish and shrimp were excellent and the servings plentiful. Greg, ever generous, shared his gator with any of us who wanted a bite. I’ve never sampled gator before. It was so good!
Tomorrow is another day of sorting and visiting and remembering. In the midst of it all, I am reminded that we are so much more than the earthly possessions that we accumulate. However, when one who is dear departs, going where we cannot yet follow, it is so comforting to hold in our hands an item that connects us to that loved one, to memories of days long past. I feel the energy, the spirit of my aunt on these things she once used and cherished. I am grateful for these mementos of her life.