This was another side of my family that I’m sure gave me the wanderlust bug. Five sisters, Grandma Deloris, her twin, Doris, Henrietta (Het), Verda (Vert), and Maxine. Sisters and their husbands would spend much time together–adventuring across the U.S.A. in a van (wonder where I get it?). One van even came to pick me up at age 18 after a trip to Mexico. They were all adventurous and fun. When my parents would be gone on trips, we stayed with great aunt Vert and great uncle Charlie. Their basement was a museum to me. The smell is in my soul. Old trunks, clothes, books, games, and mannequins… it was if I was part of another world. In that basement I was a librarian, pool player, researcher, historian, and detective (Nancy Drew, preferably).
It was Christmas 1990-something. In that living room sat my parents, MANY cousins, aunts, uncles, great aunts, great uncles, and my grandparents. I often wonder if my own sons remember the wooden marble maze made by great uncle “Snuffy”. It wouldn’t be Christmas if we didn’t hear the sounds of the marbles and a LOT of laughter (or eat Aunt Vert’s Cowboy Beans). I wanted to hear EVERY story my family told. Grandpa was sitting on the couch. Someone asked my twin and I to sing, “Grandpa” by The Judd’s. You see, singing at the Grand Ol Opry seemed like a great dream, too. But that meant being in front of a lot of people-church was a “safe” place to sing, but oh the nerves! But with family? I can barely get through any song without crying. Kristy could pull us through. Our twin powers would activate and we could muster the strength to entertain all the older members of the family. And yes, we one time sang “Love Can Build a Bridge”.
As we near closer to Mother’s Day I have to share how my Momma would have ALL of them around her Sunday table as much as possible (you should all know about my Momma’s table by now ;-). How fortunate was I that I grew up in such an environment? Two different sides of the family. Many different beliefs, backgrounds, and personalities. No cell phones were present. All of our attention was on each other. Yes, I was young, married, working, and with small children. We checked in with each other when we weren’t together. Yes, it was exhausting at times taking the kids to every family event and function. But as life seemed to unravel around me at times, I realize it was those special memories and times that kept my heart pumping. God nods. He just knows.
In honor of Naomi and those that have suffered with mental illness, you’re not alone. If you have NEVER felt despair or loneliness, you are blessed. There’s a LOT of good in our world today–HOWEVER, there’s a lot that can be better. We can always be better. We can be kinder. Gentler. Understanding. We live in such an argumentative world. Everyone wants to be right. Step over the line and extend a hand. Don’t slam a Bible on someone’s head and tell them you know the problem. That ain’t gonna fix it. Admit your mistakes and move on. If we genuinely desire for others to KNOW God,…to BELIEVE in his goodness, then we need to stop putting people in boxes (oh, the divorcees go here, the ones with issues go here, health issues go in this box, while we’re at it, let’s throw the “old” ones in this box, put the teenagers over there). What works? LOVE. Love is the ONLY thing that will build a bridge.
Due to illness I didn’t complete my past poem posts before April ended! Here’s one I wrote in 2021.
Shackled Assurance It’s a prison I don’t wish to escape. It’s a confinement with confidence. It’s finding your voice without a need to use it. It’s seeking his will-not probing for problems. It’s bravery with buoyancy. It’s being hitched with hope. It’s being fastened to faith. It’s being restrained by radiance. I’m shackled with assurance, there’s beauty between the bars. A cell of contentment is a surrender to the scars. If you feel you’re in prison How do you find the key? It’s been with you for life, unlock love and be free. K.L. Hale