Sometimes bad things things just plain happen, and so it is with the tragic death of my younger brother’s wife. Paul and his children bore their loss so bravely at a memorial in Greensboro, North Carolina, and the next day, at the ancestral cemetery in Beaufort, South Carolina.
Following the service, the multi-generational gathering strolled as one through rows of family headstones dating to the 1800s. In the cool of the hanging moss trees, the eldest relatives repeated the colorful stories that perpetuate our memories of the deceased. Interrupting
one another, they debated whether it was a sweet potato or regular spud a cousin had worn under his hat to ward off illness. Their narratives concluded as the last of us passed through the cemetery’s double wrought iron gates. An entrance of such solemnity but a moment before, the gateway was now the exit through which walked a family and the promise of its future.
A trip to Beaufort is never complete without a drive by the home where my father and his siblings were born and raised. As with many humble clapboards in small southern towns, this one experienced several upgrades and renovations. Daddy loved going by the house. Parked across the street, he would point at one window or another and describe the interior as he remembered it. Despite our volunteering to ring the bell and ask the present owner for a walk through, he always shook his head at the offer. His memories of home were more than enough.
Driving further south with my sister and her family, I was the lookout for the roadside peach stand. Nearing the Florida state line and having given up on such a sighting, I saw the sign at a gas station set back on the highway. For genuine Georgia peaches, there is no such thing as too far off the road.
The Peach Boyz were adorable, which certainly worked in their favor, as a bucket was $7.00…not exactly a bargain.
But, lo! Peach Boyz were raising money to assist in their college education costs. And it was our pleasure to help with the effort. Two buckets of peaches and a bucket of tomatoes = a fool is born every second.
A Coke stop down the road required an accompanying snack, of which there is bin upon bin to choose from, especially if one is partial to curly fried thingees. Thank heavens for Lanz peanut butter and cheese crackers!
My sister’s home is on the beach, and from the back deck is this view, perfect for sitting and watching waves and thinking about our brother and his children. No longer as a table with four sturdy legs, it will take them a while to find balance.
I’m home now, and this is the view I’m facing:
Home. It’s where the laundry is and our memories reside.
Tie One On…an apron, of course!