This one is a bit more personal. I’ll only post one photograph. I thought this photo represents the idea of a family reunion. Even though the family site is public, in order to provide some privacy, I won’t post everything, especially of the children. We have to protect them. There is truly evil in the world.
The following story is sad.
Our family is close and extended. We have a large family reunion every year. There is a lot of very good food that most cardiologists will advise you not to eat. There is a lot of good conversation and fellowship, surprising in today’s culture. Get in touch with your roots if you can. Graft yourself into some roots if you don’t know where you came from.
Reunion food! I can stand anything except temptation, and I got trapped by banana pudding. It was not the boxed pudding mix plus bananas, only fit for emergency consumption, but the real egg custard, vanilla wafer, and ripe banana variety that will fulfill your wildest dreams. Ah! Still thinking of it, but I surely did feel it when I hit the gym yesterday.
Sidetracked as usual, so back to the story. We have a reading of the minutes and during the reading, we announce the ones who have died in the past year. We’re all generally pretty healthy, so the list usually is not long (thank you Lord). This year, one name hit me. I’ll just call her Cousin J.
Cousin J. died in January this year. She had a list of people to contact. My older brother was on the list, but for some reason the person responsible did not call him, so the first we heard of her passing was when her name was read aloud.
It is always a shock. It does not matter if it is expected. I heard this one time regarding a conversation, talking of someone who had died, “Was his death untimely?” “Aren’t they all,” was the response. Every death is untimely. Solomon said we have eternity written in our hearts. There is a sense we have of something more beyond this life. Death comes to us all, but it is always a scandal.
In my twenties, I was part of a quartet, The City Folk, which was sort of a Peter, Paul, and Mary – esque singing group. Cousin J. sang with us in the group. She had a beautiful voice, an alto. She was an Elvis fan. Elvis was her Number 1 Number 1, and she left behind a lot of Elvis memorabilia. She was a member of a women’s singing group, The Sweet Adelines.
I think you may be able to open this. It may be set to private. I can’t recall. Around the 2:30 minute mark on the vid, you’ll be able to hear Cousin J. in the chorus. We recorded it in the basement of my best friend’s then future wife. It’s not a great recording, not our best sound, a private tape to be shared strictly among friends. However, it presents about two minutes of a life, now gone. I have hope of seeing her again one day.
I played this recording for my cousin, who is handling Cousin J.’s estate. We talked at the reunion about Cousin J. She said to me, “I didn’t even know she could sing.”
The point of all this is the obvious: Life is short. There is not enough time in the world. There is not enough time to love. Not enough time to learn about someone. Not enough time to share stories. Yet we all want to be known intimately.
We have stories hidden by years, covered over and buried deeply by life, hidden even from the people closest to us. The person from way back when is so different from the person now. None of us are given the opportunity to tell the story of who we are and how we became that person.
Like I said, this is a sad story. If you have a real “hope” then at least your story will be known one day.