Monthly Archives: August 2010

Saying Good-by

We stood in the bedroom that would be hers, the bunk beds creating a feeling of being penned in, and the blanket hanging lopsided on the bunk above hers.  I knew it was going to bother her.  Her blueberry eyes were clouded, and her face a guarded study.  I hugged her tightly and prayed that I wouldn’t blubber, even though it was what I wanted to do.  No, wait — what I really wanted to do was wail.  Loudly.  My baby girl.  Going away for a year.

I had watched the night before as the daddy of one of her teammates, his face a mask of unreadable emotion sat at a table with a group of parents and held his daughter like she was three years old.  We parents just don’t do this good-by thing very well.   Especially with youngest daughters.   This dad had been incredibly quiet all evening, and I wondered what he was thinking.  But he sat there, his bright eyed teen on his knee, and I caught a look at his face,  I knew that he, also was trying hard not to let his heart out where people could see what was really going on inside.

And now we were standing in her room, saying our good-byes, and I thought my heart was going to break.  The memories were dripping off the edges of my mind faster than the tears that I was trying so hard to hold back.  I felt her athletic build inside my hug and she put her head down on my shoulder where it has always fit.  This was the time that,when the boys were leaving, I would try hard to say something important and impacting and strengthening and Godly.  Something they could remember when they were alone or afraid or discouraged. 

My mind was scrambling for something profound.  Suddenly, before I knew what was happening, I heard myself say to her, “If I‘m ever going to have any fun, I’m going to have to go someplace without my mommy!”  She laughed, then, her low, delightful chuckle, while the Man I Love Most looked at me like I had taken leave of my senses.

“What is that about?”  He asked, astounded to see us both half laughing, half crying.  “Who said that?”

“I did,” said Youngest Daughter, ruefully.  “When I was three years old!”

She was right.  She had said it. 

Youngest Daughter was the biggest “Mama’s Baby” we had of our five.  She was the one who would camp out on our bedroom floor so much that I finally made a pallet down there for her on my side of the bed in the two foot space between our bed and the wall.  I can’t tell you how many nights I would hang my arm down over the side so she could hold my hand while she went to sleep.  I had to hang it down far enough that her forearm was against the floor because if she fell asleep and released her hold on my hand, she would wake up when her hand hit the floor.  Sometimes I thought my arm would be permanently paralyzed until she was enough asleep that I could bring it back to the plane of my mattress and the safely of the covers.  I know, I know.  I can almost hear the general indignant outcry.  I would never have put up with such shenanigans with the older four.  But I was older and way more tired than I had been with the others, and I got more sleep this way than if I put her in her own bed across the landing. 

Her Daddy would smile and say, “It’s alright, Hon.  She won’t be sleeping there when she’s ten!”  Sometimes I wondered!!!

Youngest Daughter started to say words at ten months.  She was using sentences by the time she was eighteen months.  I sometimes would look at her and say, “I always wondered what a toddler thought, and it is so nice to know!”  She was a sober baby, and often appeared to be thinking and thinking about stuff, and would sometimes come off with some pretty interesting concepts.  She began to understand relationships, and discovered that she had cousins and friends that were outside the walls of the house that held the people with whom she felt the most comfortable.  She liked them best when they would come to the big old house at Shady Acres that she still calls home.
 
I left her one day with her Aunt Alma while I was going somewhere, and by the time I got back, her Auntie wasn’t so sure that she ever wanted to watch her again.  “You need to do something about that child,” she informed me.  “She pretty much cried the whole time for her Mama.  Nothing I did to distract her helped for very long.  There’s no sense in that!”  She was right, of course, and I hated it that she was so attached to me that it made problems for other people.  I also knew that homeschooling the four older children, while we also cared for mentally retarded adults, caused me want to have all the time with her that I could — and sometimes, the dependency made certain that I had time with my youngest child.  Otherwise, it would have been extremely easy to allow the older kids, particularly Eldest Daughter, to do the fun things of having a little one in the house, and I felt like that really belonged to me.  Furthermore, I believed that the time would come when she wouldn’t need me so much, and that she would grow up and be strong and independent and courageous and okay.  I just didn’t want to hurry it along!

One day, when she was still very young (though I don’t know exactly how old) she had been asked to go on some sort of an outing with either cousins or friends or Sunday School teacher or someone that was not in the immediate household.  Her anxiety was high, but the desire to go was also rearing its mighty head.  I could tell that she was pondering and pondering what she should do, and that she was thinking big thoughts in that little head.

Finally, almost to herself, I heard her say, “If I’m ever going to have any fun, I’m going to have to go someplace without my Mommy!”  That phrase was destined to become part of the verbal history of our family!

That was the beginning of the march that led her to this weekend and this day that I had refused to think about in the last few months since we knew that she had planned to take a year long assignment with Rosedale Mennonite Missions.  “I’m not going to think about it,” I would remind myself fiercely.  “I will think about it when we make that long, long ride to Ohio to take her out to training.”  And so, I busied myself with a myriad of things, stopping now and then to watch her as she worked and planned and savored the days.  Sometimes I’d wait until she was out the door to cry some tears and beg the Lord for strength and then remember that I “wasn’t going to think about it now” and would mop up the face and smile for her sake when she came breezing back in.  She isn’t a person who is given to tears.  She claims to wish that she could cry, but she probably has seen her old Mama cry so much over these last few years that she decided somewhere along the way that it doesn’t help a whole lot.  She would feel a lot better (in my humble opinion) if she would just cry sometimes.  “Tears wash the windows of your soul,” I tell her on occasion. “It really does help to cry!”

I never have felt that she feels contemptuous of my tears, but maybe uncomfortable.  That is one reason why I try hard not to do a lot of crying around her.  Over these last months, while I’ve put off thinking about it, I’ve also put off the tears a great deal of the time.  And choosing to quote her childhood saying made the last good-by a lot less messy.  Laughing can a great deal of pathos out of a situation.

I’ve certainly made up for it on the way home.  Sitting here beside this Man that I Love Most, fishing for tissues, grabbing napkins because they are more available, trying to not be too unpleasant of company, I’ve had to think that this might be a good thing.  If I cry as much in the next weeks as I’ve cried on the way home from Ohio, I just might not have any tears left for that last weekend in November. 

But in my heart, what I’m really saying is, “I don’t have to think about this too much until Thanksgiving when she’ll be home for about a week before flying out to Thailand.”  I suspect that when we get to there, she’s really going to get wet.  I’ll probably blubber.  I might even wail.


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My Sweet Mama and her siblings got together last week for an informal sort of reunion.  Uncle Lloyd Wert and his wife, Aunt Bev, provided the place and the food.  All that the rest of them had to do was show up.  And they did. 

My Grandparents had eight children.  The oldest was a Son, Harold, and then followed five girls (Orpha, Alene, Gladys, Freda, Alma Jean) before another boy (Lloyd) was born, and then, after him, the final child, another girl, Ruth Ann. 

There were 37 grandchildren.  Three were killed in automobile accidents, so that leaves 34 of us.  Of the 37 grandchildren, 7 inherited the “Wert” last name.  There were that many (7) Gingerichs, 4 Zehrs, 3 Shirks, 16 Yoders.

Harold married Mary Hepner.

Orpha married Lloyd Gingerich.

Alene married Mark Yoder.

Gladys married Jesse Yoder (Mark’s brother).

Freda married Vernon Zehr.

Alma Jean married Harvey Yoder (not closely related to the other two Yoders as far as we know).

J. Lloyd married Beverly Shreiner.

Ruth Ann married Allen Shirk.

When they got together last week, they were all there — except my Daddy.  (And because of Alzheimer’s, one of our beloved Aunties wasn’t quite herself.) The eight siblings are all surprisingly pretty much together and “with it” enough that they really enjoyed the day.  It was hard for my Sweet Mama.  The tears were close almost every time she talked to me in the days before the gathering .  She hated to go without Daddy, but believed that it would not be wise to stay home.  And so, she went, and she survived.  I was so proud of her.  I know it was terribly hard, since this is the first time they were together like this since Daddy died, and it was bittersweet for all of them.  Uncle Allen got a decent picture of the eight of them together and Unkie (Uncle Lloyd Wert) took the rest.  I wish I could have been a mouse in the house that day, but I’ve heard the account, and I’ve seen the pictures.  That is almost as good!

 


In the back, from the left, Aunt Ruth Ann, Aunt Alma Jean, Aunt Freda, Aunt Gladys, Uncle Lloyd
In the front, from the left, Aunt Orpha, Uncle Harold and My Sweet Mama, Alene.

 


Uncle Harvey with Aunt Alma Jean, Aunt Freda, Aunt Gladys

 


Uncle Lloyd’s wife, Aunt Bev, and Aunt Mary Wert (She belongs to Uncle Harold)

 

 


Aunt Gladys and Uncle Lloyd.

 

Aunt Gladys, Aunt Ruth Ann and Aunt Alma Jean

 

Uncle Harold Wert and Aunt Orpha Gingerich

 

 

My Sweet Mama with her lifelong friend, Aunt Mary (Hepner) Wert

 

Uncle Allen Shirk and Uncle Harold Wert

 

 

Uncle Vernon Zehr talks to Uncle Lloyd and Aunt Bev’s son, Phil Wert.  (Phil is one of the five male grandchildren that carries the Wert name) and that is Aunt Gladys Yoder sitting there with what looks like a halo. 

 

This is half of Aunt Alma Jean Yoder, talking to Uncle Lloyd Gingerich, and Uncle Jesse Yoder

 

Aunt Ruth Ann Shirk and Aunt Orpha Gingerich

 

 

Aunt Mary Wert talks to Aunt Freda Zehr, and Uncle Vernon Zehr holds down the other end of the couch.

 

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Ponderings from the Bean Patch

I am just about kaput! 

Since we came home from the Yutzy Reunion in Ohio, I have picked three bushels of lima beans off the 24 plants that Certain Man planted and conscientiously tended for me. (He does NOT pick beans, though!)  I have them all shelled and safely into the freezer. 

They weren’t doing so well at first.  The first time I picked them I barely got enough to fill the cup of my two hands.  While I did that first picking, I noticed that the plants were turning yellow from the inside out, and many of the beans that were there were hanging limp.  I went down those rows of beans and started praying over my decrepit looking bean plants.  I asked the Lord to be gracious to my little garden, and could He please turn things around so that I could have a good harvest.  And I sang while I picked — songs of Heaven, songs of praise, songs of the Soon Return of Jesus (Which I am thinking really could be any day now!).  And then I waited.  About ten days ago, I went back out and things were looking better.  I got a fairly decent picking and was able to put five bags in the freezer.  Then we went off to the Yutzy Family Reunion.  I thought that maybe they ought to be picked while we were gone, but decided that I would just check them when I got back.

Wowser!  We got home on Monday evening, and I went out early on Tuesday morning and the beans were hanging thick and full.  I got started picking but had to stop at the end of one side of one row.  I had a bushel already, and the sun was so hot and the one med I take says to limit exposure to the sun, so I took my very red face into the house, and decided to wait until it got down to around eighty degrees.  The thing was, it was still eighty-seven at seven in the evening.  I was sure I couldn’t wait any longer, so I headed on out, and it actually wasn’t too bad.  There was a breeze, and the sun was going down so I picked another bushel.  Of course, then I was forced in because it was getting dark. 

Wednesday it rained almost all day.  We got over six inches.  Eldest Daughter and I canned 29 quarts of pizza sauce in the morning, and then I went to My Sweet Mama’s for the day.  When I got home, it was time to get ready for small group– and clean up the kitchen, and shell the beans, so I put them into the fridge and decided that I would blanch  them on Thursday.  So, Thursday morning, I went out to finish the one side of the last row and picked another bushel.  Believe me, I got busy in earnest to get those things shelled, blanched and into the freezer.  I got 28 bags (3 cups each, although, when I put three cups into a measuring cup, it made almost four, so those are really almost quarts).  I am one grateful girl!  It feels good to have picked them all myself. I actually enjoy picking the pole beans, but I guess i would not be adverse to some of the family helping.  They do help with the shelling.  (Sometimes, a little bit.  Sometimes, a lot.)

The thing is, I feel so close to my Daddy in the bean patch.  Thoughts of him keep invading the spaces of my heart and the memories are so good. Thankfully, most of the time, they don’t make me cry any more. 

 

Last night I was talking to Mama, and I said, “I think Daddy would be pleased with my bean patch this year!” 

 

She said, “He would be so pleased!  It would really tickle him to know how well it’s doing and how many beans you are getting from it.” 

 

I said, “I can almost see his smiley crinkles and hear him say, ‘I don’t know what to say ’bout ‘cha!  Well, Sweetie, that’s really good!'”

It’s been so long since I’ve heard that voice.  I remember that when he died, the feeling I felt the most was incredible joy at his safe homegoing –and the fact that he slipped so easily from mortality to immortality.  My sister, Alma, said that one of the reasons we were able to be strong those days was that we hadn’t had time to miss him yet.  It’s funny how you can hear something and know that it is entirely more accurate than you really want it to be.  Those words were so terribly true.  I missed him every single day for so long that the physical ache in my stomach almost became an expected part of me.    It honestly doesn’t hurt like that very often anymore, but sometimes when it seems like I don’t quite miss him so much, another person I love takes it upon themselves to make the journey from here to There.  Counting him, we’ve laid to rest five of the David and Savilla Yoder children in less than five years.  Daddy, Uncle John, Aunt Ruth, Uncle Luke, Aunt Naomi.  And other family members and good friends.   Sometimes it is so incongruous how glad I am for them, and at the same time, how sad for us.  And because I am mortal, most of the time when I think about it, I’m just desperately sad for our losses.  Significant losses.  Every one of them.

These days when I am getting ready to let go of Youngest Daughter, trying to think of all the last minute things I have to tell her, trying not to cry when I look at her face, fold her laundry, listen to her voice, I keep thinking about life and why we do the things we do.  I wonder sometimes what all our angst is going to look like from The Other Side.  I wonder if all the separation, heartache and sorrow of this sin sick world will be a part of a long forgotten past, and we won’t even remember?  Or if we remember at all, will it be only to realize that all of this was nothing, NOTHING in comparison to what God has in store for us?

We can’t know what it’s all going to be like, of course, on this side.  But what a comfort to my heart are these words from Jesus our Lord:  (Listen!)

 “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust in me. 2 There are many rooms in my Father’s house; I would not tell you this if it were not true. I am going there to prepare a place for you.3 After I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me so that you may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going . . .I am the way, and the truth, and the life. The only way to the Father is through me.” John 14:1-4,6b  

He promised!  We can count on it! 


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Home again, with so much to tell–

So little time, I can’t do it well-

So it is off to bed for me.

Tomorrow???  Well, I guess we’ll see!!!

There’s laundry to do,

And calls to make.

There’s appointments to schedule

And naps to take.

For every single day away

It seems like it takes two to pay.


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Corn Day, Yoder Girls’ Style

I think we finally finished up the corn today.
Alma’s friend, Peggy, made some corn available to us, and we put our hands to the husks, and never looked back!

 


Roxie, Edie, Elmer and Sarah get busy on what seemed like a really little pile of corn.

 

 


The other end; Sarah, Christina, Friend Emma

 


This is what we call the “Cow” and it is a new edition.  I was trying to get the original edition down from the rafters, and suddenly it came bouncing down and broke into irreparable pieces.  Certain Man never said a murmuring word, but got busy and made us a new one, and this is a greatly improved edition.

 


Here we gather to solve all the world’s problems. 
(Almost get it done, too.)



Then Elmer brings the tractor and loader up so we have somewhere to throw the cobs.



Roxie and Sarah begin the big job of cutting off kernels.

 


Alma lends her able hands

 


This is pretty much the bravest one of us all.
With feet that almost never stop hurting, she still came to help.
I suspect she’s paying dearly for it tonight!
What would we ever do without her???
She urges us on to a strong finish.

 

 


There’s lots to drink.  Tea.  And tea.  And Tea.


There’s a hornet buzzing around here.  Someone needs to get him!


Emma tries her hand at a new experience and finds out that she really isn’t too bad at it!


Roxie is a helpful and pleasant addition to our corn days.

 


Sarah is the one who “LOVES” to do corn.  She is our corny professional.



We really do laugh a lot!
This crew specializes in finding something to entertain each other through the long, hot hours.



The long, long line of cutting and packaging.



Of course we had help from another sector!
Charis “washes” her ear of corn before eating it raw.


“If I pour often enough, maybe I can empty one of these muck buckets!”


“Wait a minute.  That’s corn in there.  I really, really, really like corn.”

 


“I believe I’ll go fishing!”

 


“Aha!  I caught a big one!”

 


“I found a spot to eat my corn where no one will bother me!”

 

 


“This is just the best lunch ever!  It’s so yummy!”

 


“Mommy, can’t you see I’m busy here?!?!?”

 

 


“Maybe I’ll just take my ear of corn and go someplace else!”

 

The day went so well, and we had about 450 ears of corn (some of which we divvied up for eating fresh) and we got over sixty packages of corn (of various sizes)  So, so pleased!  And hopefully that is it for this year.  I am just about husked/corned/kernel-ed out.  It has been a long week and half since we started, and I really don’t know how much we’ve done all together, but it is ENOUGH, ALREADY!!!

 


The little one cleaned up pretty well for prayer meeting tonight!

 


CM and CMW at prayer meeting tonight.
Yepper, that’s two tired people!
But prayer meeting has a way of filling up the cracks and crannies of hearts that are heavy,
and provides the oil of joy for mourning
and gives a reminder of how good we really do have it,
so it was worth every minute.

Tonight, Youngest Daughter is ill with a very nasty summer cold, and I am not sure just what to do to help her. 
I think a good night’s rest is probably the best thing for what ails her.
I know it’s the best for what ails me, so that is where I’m heading my own weary self!

Good night, all-
May the Grace and Mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ rest and abide with each one!

 


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Yesterday was quite a day at Shady Acres.  We were supposed to do corn again —

But it wasn’t ready!  So we got busy on other things.  Youngest Daughter wasn’t home from Conference yet, and we had overnight company that was going to be here part of the day.  Dustin Miller, on a trip through several states in preparation for going back to Bangladesh, had spoken at our church on Sunday morning and then at Snow Hill on Sunday evening.  He had spent Saturday and Sunday nights here, and needed to head for Washington D.C. in the afternoon.  I envisioned a leisurely morning when I heard there was no corn, but what a misnomer that turned out to be.

The usual morning things are to get Our Girl Audrey and Blind Linda on their way, so that got done in fairly good order, and then I decided to start laundry.  I heard the driveway monitor, and looked out to see who had come, but didn’t see a car.  So I went to the door, and coming up the ramp was my sweet neighbor, Lillian.  She had been out picking up trash, and stopped in for a minute.  She lost her husband almost two years ago, and she has had a tough couple of years health-wise.  This picture was taken in happier days, but I love this little wisp of a lady.  We often talk about her scrappy husband, and how much she misses him.  When I hug her, she feels like mostly bones and her tears are so close.  What a special lady!  She is brave, but so very fragile.

 

Deborah came down and was cleaning up the kitchen, and Dustin came down and foraged for some breakfast.  They decided to go in to Dolce’s for some coffee, and so they left and I kept on doing laundry.  Then the driveway monitor went off again and it was my friend, Emma.  She had taken her husband, Jimmy, up to New Jersey to pick up his bike that had been wrecked a few weeks back, and stopped in on the way home.  Earlier in the week, we had planned to go out for lunch on Monday, but then the corn and the bike had preempted our plans, so she was actually stopping to help do corn.  Ah, well. She said she was going to come on Wednesday.  I had lots of leftovers from Sunday, so she and I decided we would still do lunch — with leftovers, so I got busy heating those up.  Then the doorbell rang and it was my neighbor, Jesus, (no, really, that’s his name!) with his beautiful little boy, Romy.  He came in with a paper that he wanted help filling out.  Once again, it was one of those papers that he really wanted me to fudge a little on — and I said to him, “Hay-soose, I am going to tell you what I tell all of my hispanic friends:  I will do everything I can to help you, and I will sign anything that I can in good conscience, but I will not lie for you.”  He said, “No, no, that’s okay.  Just sign what you can.”  So we went over the paper and filled out everything that I knew the answer to, talked about his job, and caught up a little on his life.  Then he had done some carpenter work in the trailer repairing a leak, so I paid him for that, and he took Romy and went on his way.

About that time, just when the food was almost warm, I heard the sound of a motorcycle, and it was Jimmy, bringing his repaired motorcycle for admiration.  He breezed in the house in his “Jimmy way”, and I asked him if he was hungry.  He often won’t eat at my house, but he was feeling really happy yesterday, and he ate!  Leftovers from Sunday, but he ate!  I was pleased with that.  When he and Emma had finished their lunch, and I had changed a load of laundry, I went out to see his motorcycle.  I hadn’t gotten a chance to see it back when he first got it.  He had picked up the cycle on a Thursday night, if I remember correctly, and had taken it up to New Jersey to show a friend on Saturday.  On the way home, he stopped for some coffee and someone took a short cut through the parking lot and caught the bike and drug it several feet, causing it some significant damage (although it wasn’t as bad as first thought, it was incredibly hard on Jimmy who had waited a LONG time for this bike).  He had to leave it up in Jersey until it could be repaired, and he was one happy guy to bring it home, all fixed, all shined up, all just the way he wanted it.

 

Like I said, he was one happy dude!!!
(and don’t be touching his bike, you hear???)

Well, in the mean time, Youngest daughter had gotten home, and then Dustin and Deborah got back from the coffee shop, and then Jessica Burkholder stopped in.  She and the girls were going to Dover for a little jaunt to look for a diaper bag for Davey and Jessica’s soon to be born baby.  I should have taken a picture yesterday,  Jessica is such a cute preggo mama.  But I didn’t!  (sorry!)  This one will have to do.

 

The girls headed out, and then the driveway monitor went again, and it was my Sweet Mama, coming to wait at my house between doctor appointments.  It is always so good to have her visit!

In between visiting with her, I fielded a few phone calls, and then she left for her appointment, and Dustin left for D.C..  Audrey came home and then Linda.  Then finally, the girls and at last, Certain Man.  That was the best of all.  Everything is always better when he is home.

I guess, reading over this, it was no wonder that I was exhausted last night.  It was one of those evenings when I couldn’t wait to get to bed.  How incredibly blessed I felt to sink into my great mattress and literally zonk out.  Certain Man said that I was asleep almost as soon as I hit the pillow.  I believe him.  What a grand sleep I had!

Today, I still feel like I have it in slow gear.  It is Oldest Daughter’s birthday:

(Happy Birthday, Chris!!!)


and I have a dentist appointment and some other stuff to do — laundry to finish, and bookwork at Mama’s, but thankfully, nothing that is too demanding of energy.  I am so glad for the pause that refreshes.  At least I guess that is what this day day is.  Never thought I would think of going to the dentist as relaxing, but it really does feel like that, and now I am outta’ here!

May you all have a blessed day! 

 

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Sunday Afternoon

They buried my Auntie today.

There were so many things happening so fast, that it wasn’t at all feasible for Certain Man and I and my Sweet Mama to try to go.  But my heart was there.  I wish there would have been a live stream available, but I guess there wasn’t. 

We had overnight company — pleasant company, indeed, and then church this morning and company for lunch today.  Fourteen around the dinner table plus Love Bug in her high chair.  Roast beef, new potatoes, gravy, corn, lima beans, pretzel salad, homemade bread, double layer chocolate cake, ice cream, sweet tea.  It sounds like a big meal, and there was plenty left over, but if the truth be told, it is one of the easiest Sunday meals there is to put together.  Clean up isn’t much fun, but many hands make work light.

Suddenly, just before the last dishes were washed, my energy was gone, and I handed the reins over to Middle Daughter and gracegiven and I got some pain meds and got out of my church dress and into my housecoat and literally crashed onto my favorite chair.  (gracegiven and her family were the only ones still here, and I consider them family, so didn’t think anyone would be offended with my attire.)  Little Victoria came over and climbed up on my lap, and I stayed awake long enough to sing “The itsy bitsy spider went up the water spout. Down came the rain, and washed the spider out. Out came the sun, and dried up all the rain,: and the itsy …” while tickling her and squishing her and whispering secrets in her ears, but then I fell fast asleep in that chair, and when I suddenly woke up about a half an hour later, Kent’s were leaving and I had actually gotten myself a good nap. 

Certain Man and I followed them out, and sat on the old church bench beside the garage door and surveyed the waning afternoon.  Kent and gracegiven got their children all corralled and safely belted.  They pulled out of the driveway, waving and smiling, and we waved and smiled them off, then sat together in the comfortable silence.  It has been pleasant and the temps have been actually rather moderate.  The butterflies were flitting about on the flowers and there was an occasional humming bird.  There’s a slight breeze and I looked at the flowers and wondered if I should shear them back so they can grow out again..  Suddenly a neighbor man came flying in the chicken house lane in his old beat up truck and leaped out and went into Certain Man’s shop.

“I wonder what Chris Willey wants,” I said to Certain Man.

“Oh, he probably forgot something on the tractor and came back for it.”  This particular neighbor often borrows things on Sunday Morning while Certain Man is at church, and he had gotten a tractor this morning, used it and brought it back.  I watched at how confidently he marched into Certain Man’s shop and then strode back out, lifting something triumphantly in our direction from half a farm away, and got back into his funny old truck and sped out of the driveway again.

“Well,” I said reflectively to Certain Man, “he certainly acts comfortable marching in and out of your shop.”

Certain Man laughed, “Yeah, well.  You wouldn’t do that to his shop.”

“Why not?” I ask.

“His is all locked up!”  He laughed again, a bit ruefully.  “He knows he can do it here.  And it’s okay.”

Then Certain Man announced his intention to grab a nap and I remembered that I had the offerings from the last three weeks to enter into the computer, so I decided to do some desk work. When I finally got my computer to boot up, I realized that The Funeral had gone on without me thinking seriously about it.  I had planned to take some time to sing the song that the cousin’s choir usually sings at the funerals of the Aunts and Uncles.  I had planned to ponder and maybe shed some tears and pray.  And I suddenly realized that the funeral was probably over.  Without me.  Somehow I felt gypped.  I wanted to feel a part of it even though I wasn’t there, but my opportunity had slipped through the fingers of my afternoon while I washed dishes, tickled a little girl, and slept. 

There are lots of things that we can feel bad about, but this is one of those things that I don’t think my Auntie would want me to beleaguer myself about.  If anyone would understand about company and little girls held close on a lap and food needing to be put away and dishes needing to be washed, it would be she.  I can almost see the smiley lines crinkling into her sweet, sweet face, and I can imagine hearing her say, “Now, Mary Ann, you did what was important at the time.  There will be plenty of time to sit and think, and I will always be a part of your memories.  Nothing can take that away from you.  And we’ll have time someday to catch up on all the things we hadn’t finished.  So be sure to Be There!”  

I intend to be there, Aunt Naomi.  And it won’t just be in my thoughts.  I intend to BE THERE, with that new body that won’t suddenly get tired half way through the Sunday afternoon dishes. We will sit together and there won’t be any “waning” to the afternoon or need for those wonderful Sunday Afternoon Naps!

What a day that will be!



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