Monday, April 23, 2007

Another Long Night

Tonight after work, Jen, Grace and I trekked up to New Hampshire to say goodbye to another of our "greats". Our great aunt Madeline was married to our grandfather's brother Tim. Tim is it now all that's left on that level on either side of my mother's family. All of my grandmother's siblings are gone. My father has a sister left, nevermind aunts and uncles.
However, while it was sad, it was also a great time. We hadn't seen our cousins in a long time.

First off, we barely made it. Surprised? Well this time it wasn't my fault. We got to Grace's at 5:30 pm, but she and Jen had to go off the Greg's confirmation rehearsal. I keep saying he shouldn't be confirmed because he can't tell me what transubstaniation is.......

Anyway, we are buzzing up route 3 to Nashua, cutting it close to the end of the 6 to 8 visiting hours, Grace hyperventilating in the back. She keeps trying to tell us directions. She doesn't exactly know where it is, but she passes Nashua on her way to her summer cottage and she is distressed that we don't have directions. But we have GPS. I tell her to calm down and trust the GPS. Breathe and let go. (OK Southie, before you get all up on me, I had read the directions and knew which routes we were supposed to be on, I know how you feel about me abdicating my navigational duties to the GPS). Anyway, doesn't the stupid GPS have a hiccup and have us get off Route 3, drive around on 110 for a few minutes and then get back on!!!! Grace was very quiet. LOL There was a lot of new construction, we think that's what caused the hiccup.

Anyway, Grace announces that if we get there at 8 she is not going in. I shrug and tell that's ok, sit in the car, I'll go in. I once arrived at a cousin's wedding shower as they packed cars in the parking lot. I said "Here's my gift, this counts as making your shower" and helped them load the cars. Anyway, we actually get there at 7:45! LOL I'm practically early.

At this point, Madeline's three children and their immediate families are all that are left. Terry was close to my age and we hung out as children in the Nook. After she hugged me she told me that my mother had told her that I would be there at 7:55. Terry's brother Stanley pointed out that it was earlier than that and he would be my witness. I laughingly pointed out that this time....this one time, I was not to blame. Grace and Jen were the ones who made us late.

I spoke briefly to their brother Richard who was older than us and I really didn't remember. He was there with his two children and his son-in-law and they were very nice.

Terry had wheeled my Uncle Tim into the room. He has dementia and short term memory loss. I think he had a flicker of knowing who I was and who Grace was, but it was brief. Stanley said he absolutely recognized my mother, her brothers and my dad earlier. Jen prompted him to sing "Danny Boy" and it was like old times. Terry's husband took Tim back to the place he is living (which Stanley says is, thankfully, very nice) and Richard and his family left.

We stayed, lol!

Finally at 8:25 Stanley said "You know, we are headed down the street to Martha's to eat." "We're in!" I announced. I didn't turn to see Grace's face. Hehehe. Grace is a planner. Grace is not a "fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants" person.

I turned to the guy who ran the funeral home. he had been very graciously standing there while we stood in the lobby holding him up. "Meet us there?" "I just might." he replied. We got in Jen's car. Grace announced "I can't believe I am caught up in one of your la-la-la's!" She sang it. I didn't realize my adventures had a name. I just laughed. I told her "Come on! We'll have a great time and I'm starving anyway." Jen remarked that Terry had 6 pets and a business working with animals. I told her that I wasn't surprised. Terry was a big animal lover. I said if I had had to guess I would have said she worked with horses. She loved horses. Then I was thinking how in movies and books young girls are often portrayed as wanting horses. I asked my sisters "Did you ever want a horse when you were young?" Jen exclaimed "Who are you talking to?!?" We dissolved in laughter. We are sooooooo not animal people.

We ended up having dinner at Martha's Exchange. It wasn't easy getting to our table. No, I don't mean it was crowded. Most people were sitting at the outdoor tables. It was 70 degrees out. But just inside there was a chocolate shoppe. But somehow I got past it to our seats. They also were a microbrewery. Jen and Grace perked right up. Good meal, good company. Lot's of fond reminiscing. Soemhow it came up in conversation that Stanley was 60. I was astonished! "How? I am only 46!" He just laughed and Jen told him he looked very young. We kept Grace out past her bed time. But I made her admit five times that she had a good time and she was glad I dragged her along on my "la-la-la".

They chose a poem to go in their mother's memorial card.

I'd like the memory of me
to be a happy one,
I'd like to leave an afterglow
of smiles when life is done.
I'd like to leave an echo
whispering softly down the ways,
of happy times and laughing times
and bright and sunny days.
I'd like the tears of those who
grieve, to dry before the sun,
of happy memories that I leave behind
when my life is done.

Very appropriate. Goodbye Madeline. You raised some great kids and created lots of fond memories.

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