Unfortunately my Grandmother's brother passed away shortly after Christmas. Luckily she was with him the day before and got to spend some time with him before his passing. It was not unexpected and I understand it was peaceful.
Anyway, today was Great Uncle James funeral and although I hadn't seen him since I was 6, the family was out in full force to support Mema and the rest of the family. It turned out to be an interesting day. From the moment we arrived at the funeral home we were regaled with new family gossip. The biggest information was that my family is HICK. And it was awesome. I was regaled of stories of how my great grandfather ran a moonshine operation and people would come in the middle of the night and flash their lights once for a quart or twice for 2 quarts. My aunts and uncles were told that they were making sorghum syrup and of course people came late in the night to ensure that the "syrup" was fresh for their biscuits and grits the following morning.
How Uncle James and Uncle Sid took Mike to Hartwell Lake when he was in 3rd grade and told him they were near the mexican border. When people started rope swinging into the lake, they told them they were trying to cross into America. For hours he yelled swim harder! Meet me half way I will help! Needless to say upon going back to school and telling his teacher he tried to help people cross the rio grande, his mom got a call to extol her dedication to helping people. Uncle Sid cracked up and said "He shouldn't have been dumb enough to fall for it. It was an hours drive". But then again this is the kid who was promised a quarter if he would run to the cow fence put his tongue on it and run back. Too bad the fence was electric.
It has been well established that I have an excellent job with a stable paycheck but alas no marriage prospects (remember this is deep south). I have (apparently) re-met a couple of cousins, aunts, uncles and cousins three time removed with a cherry on top. I have heard awkward speeches, hilarious jokes, inappropriate announcements, and sadly, I was the one who heard the joke and cracked up at the back of the viewing (Thanks Whit for that one).
On the way home from the funeral (after a quick pit stop at the outlet malls with some cousins) I re-learned how each of the Kelly's and their progeny had come to an end. We debated on the impact of life decisions and how it affects our family.
Now I sit at Mema's table mentioned last year and I am watching Whit and her Boyfriend Robby take on the Kenzie and Jill in Spades. The loser has and will continue to demand rematches. I am listening to Jan and Mom and Kristen ask Mema and Deda for details from their childhood. Not to mention Mema pouring ice water on Deda's head when he won't tell her if he wrote the poem that broke up her and her old boyfiend (Roses are Red, Violets are true, but I don't know about you) and disagreed over who proposed to whom. I love hearing about stories new and told so often they are remembered and fit like an old pair of well worn jeans. My grandfather is showing love to each grandchild calling us each by our special nicknames given to us by him: Farmer Girl, Princess, Angel, and Babydoll.
This vacation is flying by as it did last year and I will be sad to leave the family that grows with each new year. The time that we spend here is treasured and the history that is behind such simple times such as cards and rotelli with frito chips moves us all forward with laughter, joy, tears, and love.
This year has truly been, in the words of Deda, a walk in high cotton.
Happy New Year.