Good morning. Ya'll come on in. I've been missing you but have been gone for a few days. When I wrote my last posting, I had no idea I would be returning dishes brought to us at a time of death.
Our daddy passed away this past Wednesday and just like I last posted, wonderful food was cooked and brought to our home in Alabama with love and concern. It was not the massive amount that would have been brought if daddy had not moved to Georgia 5 years ago but it was a gracious plenty and fed us well. There is nothing like good, southern cooking.
We don't have a great big family, but it is growing, thank goodness. God took our daddy home on Wednesday and gave us a new baby girl on Saturday. My niece had a beautiful little girl early Saturday morning and we are so glad. I just wish daddy could have lived long enough to know her but I know my brother and niece will tell her all about her great, great, grandfather and how much he would have loved her. I know he loved her mother a great deal.
This week reminded me of what I love about the South and small towns. Our small, South Alabama hometown enveloped us with love this past weekend. You see, it was not a time of mourning as much as a time to celebrate the life of a Godly man who was a friend and neighbor to many people in that place. He was ready to go to his heavenly home and see his Lord and mama, our brother and all the rest of his friends and family who were there. Never forget though that his priority was to see his Lord Jesus. He had begged and prayed for several years to go home and now his prayer has been answered.
As we stood in the funeral home and welcomed old friends on Saturday night, it was so wonderful to hear them say what a good man he was, how he had influenced their lives and what a good friend he had been. The soft, slow, Southern drawl flowed around us like caring arms. It filled our ears with music for there was not a harsh sound spoken, just those sweet, soft, syllables of love. No one was in a hurry and everyone hugged us and told us how much they cared. It was a homecoming for us and we felt welcomed and loved.
There is nothing like home, even if you don't want to live there all the time. It is the place where you can be absent for days, weeks, months or years but those dear friends welcome you back with open arms, soft sounds of love and ready to show their caring for you and your loved ones. You pick up right where you left off by hugging each other and start to catch up on all the family. Is it a ritual, of course, but a ritual born out of graciousness and caring for each other.
Then there was the funeral where loved friends came and shared their sweet memories of mama and daddy. There were also the memories of us as we grew up in that church. I saw people who had taught me, loved me and were a part of who I am. As I stood behind the pulpit to share with our family and friends my thoughts about our daddy, I saw smiles, tears and love shining from the beautiful faces of people who loved us and shared our pain of separation but also our celebration of parents who were loved and respected by most all who knew them. It was good!
The family times were special beyond description. We spent long hours into the wee hours talking, laughing and remembering. The cousins spent hours together for the first time in years for we all are scattered from Georgia to Texas and don't see each other very often. You add in the close friends who helped raise us and it was glorious. We have turned out well and it is a family we are proud to be a part of. Different but the same. You can see the shared genes in the eyes, the hair, the shape of the faces, the personality quirks and we know we are family. Our spouses are all loved and part of the family and sometimes look at us when we get started with the "remember whens" and wonder if half of it is true. Mostly, but maybe a little exaggeration.
We looked through drawers, closets and cabinets. The old barn was explored and a baby bed, old jars, tires, and most everything else which had been brought to that place was still there. The attic is full, the house is full and we are wondering what to do with all of it. My brother said, "Everything brought on to this place is still here," and he is right. Daddy never threw anything away for you might need it someday. Now what you will do with broken boards, rusty barbed wire, jars, old tires, and a lot more stuff is beyond me, but who knows, we may find some treasures. You just never know.
Now the lesson learned from this sweet rite of passage is that we should not wait until a death to get together. I am planning as the matriarch of the family and the Queen Bee, to make sure we see each other yearly and have a good time. They won't all be in Camden for we all love the beach, but all who can will come together, eat, drink and be merry for we are blessed family who love each other. The statement I heard over and over was that nothing on that place was worth fighting over and there would be no arguments about anyTHING. We all know, for mama and daddy taught us, that stuff is temporary, but love is forever.
Daddy we will miss you and have missed you for in your mind you left us awhile back. We are thankful that God was most loving and let you leave this place and enter your eternal home in your sleep. Thank you and mama for giving us life but most of all for leading us into a personal relationship with our heavenly Father. We love you both and our sweet memories will do until we join you in heaven.
The Georgia Peach