Sunday, January 29, 2012

I Am So Blessed To Be Me

I was blessed from a young age with a large, loving, boisterous family. 

My mother may have only had two brothers who had lived to be adults, but both of her parents came from large families and people gathered at their farmhouse as a matter of course on Sundays and during summer months. Cousins, aunts, uncles abounded. We lived about 30 miles from them, and were not able to be there all the time, but we visited often. My mother would take us when we were small to stay for a few days when it was time to can vegetables from the garden. She helped Mawmaw, and we ran wild. 

My first memories of drinking coffee are from there - I would sneak around the dining table after the adults had wandered off and drink the cold coffee left in the cups. I still like coffee that is at room temperature, and have learned as an adult to drink iced coffee as well.

Pawpaw saucered his coffee. I always wanted to do that, but never quite mastered the technique. {saucering coffee is when you pour the steaming hot coffee from your cup into a deep saucer then drink from the saucer, though slurping is a more descriptive word for the process} I think, though I am not sure, this was done because the coffee would literally be boiling hot and pouring a portion into the shallow saucer enabled one to drink without blistering your mouth and tongue because the saucered coffee cooled faster than that in the thick earthenware cups.

Both of my uncles lived out of state and the times they visited were very special. I have always felt such a deep love for my family, never questioning the veracity of my feelings. As a child, I felt surrounded by these loving adults who really cared about my welfare.

As I have aged, one by one the elders in my family have passed away. Like petals from a flower, they have fallen away through the years. 

1986 was a difficult year - we lost both of my grandparents as well as my father in a very short period of time, less than three months.

As I write this Mom's younger brother, Elmer Jackson Slade, lies in his final hours at a hospital in Georgia. He called me during the Christmas season, and we talked a bit about this and that. He was concerned about Mom, and I tried my best to reassure him about her health. My amazing cousin Leigh has been as good and loving daughter to him as any woman could be, and I admire her strength and courage.

I like to think of Mawmaw, waiting for her baby to come home. She will have biscuits and sausage gravy ready for him. She will pour percolated coffee from the pot on the back of the wood-burning cookstove and listen as he and Pawpaw talk about the vegetable garden. He will be laughing and cracking jokes, keeping a smile on everyone's face. It is early in the day, because life and death are about beginnings and changes, not endings.

That is something I have learned from being a part of my large, loving, boisterous family.
I am so blessed to be me.

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