January 2, 2012
Highlights I must not forget from this little episode that began in December and ended when Himself went to work this morning and then the children left late late yesterday evening.
BabyBoy II had to leave first. After a week of his father making sure that his truck was in the very best condition to take off with for their latest adventure....a new starter, a tune-up, tires rotated, oil changed, etc. etc. Jolene was ready to take on the thousands of miles that begins with a trip to Virginia and then back to Illinois. The truck was parked and idling (Smoothly, with a hint of growling power, what is it about Chevrolet Pick-ups that I love so?) we are standing on the driveway, the fierce wind shoving us all back with each gust, and here he comes, all six feet five-and-half inches of him, wearing a new russet-beige Carhart Henley and his jacket, his hair and beard throwing off sparks in the dazzling sunlight, not red, not gold, but a perfect brilliant mix of scarlet and gold, his shoulders broad, that long easy gait...he hugged us all, several times, HARD, then leapt into his truck and we all moved over to get into the Lexus Hybrid and he waves and hollers, powers down the window and on the crisp roaring wind came the rolling lyrics of Don't You Forget About Me! by Simple Minds...which as we, his father and brother and I all jumped up and clapped and roared and of course, I get all teary-eyed...and then he roars up the street, honks Jolene's horn and zooooommmmmm, there he goes around the corner, a gleaming gun metal grey 4x4 Silverado, purchased by him, all by himself shortly after he graduated from Centre, now paid for...DC plates winking in the sun's glitter...we all of accord turned just before the truck and he disappeared from view (never ever ever watch someone you love disappear from sight: NEVER) and again, we had to explain to Baby Boy I's wife...the song, its importance, the memories, the tears, the rules about making certain someone always returns to you...an old Cherokee belief observed by all my family...
The New Year's Eve Bonfire: The massive S'Mores, the cigars the boys had brought for the event...at times, memories of the boys' great-grandfather almost overwhelmed me...the click-snap of Baby Boy II's lighter being the final touch...tales and stories and beer and Champagne for me (Baby Boy I's wife brought it for me, I was so touched, really really touched and brought out the special glasses for we girls. The men abstaining...but one of them did gallantly open the bottle perfectly...and we had fireworks enough to blow up Cincinnati but we didn't, instead the boys and their father put on a show that should have terrified any evil spirits out of the whole Tri-County area and sent them all straight on, to well...somewhere far far far up the Ohio River Valley! Well away from here!
Everyone had such a good time, Baby Boy I greeted me with a huge bear hug and the observation that I was "certainly looking better than when I last saw you."...which is a vague, teary-misty shadowy montage of beeping medical equipment and fever haze. Flat-on-my-back, really, which I cannot remember the last time anyone but my husband has seen me like in oh about fifteen years or so.
We had the ham the boys requested and literally, after breakfast the next day...not one tiny scrap remained. The bonfire and fireworks and champagne and horn-blowing kept us all up super late even for New Year's Eve and everyone was starved the next morning...okay brunch time! Luckily, there was plenty of vegetarian options for the girls.
It was a splendid bonfire...lasted for hours and people started to come out and watch us, we invited anyone that wanted to come but okay it was a bit chilly and windy and some drifted over and then wandered back and some more came but after one a.m. it was just family again. Which was just fine!
And now, it's SNOWING! Gorgeous white snow! Flakes dancing around in the air, lawn turning white...OH!
How perfect was that! Just enough time for everyone to get safely back...it's really amazing that for once we live close enough that the boys and their wives can drive to visit when they want to and have time.
Everyone is okay now with my being alone and gosh I miss them. Terribly. And I feel guilty for taking up time they all needed for other things.
And oh, the snow is totally breath-taking! May it continue until Three King's Day...I have been trying to put together a small dinner for Three King's Day and of course, if the weather is really bad, the folks in Louisville won't want to come out here in the county, I think.
Boots! Two pairs of BOOTS for Christmas. Sassy leather boots for town and another for snow. And a gorgeous wool swing coat with the most gorgeous deep blue/black satin lining! I have not had a coat this gorgeous and a true town cold weather coat since the ones my grandparents kept for me when I visited. And the London Fog ones I had before we left Kentucky.
All on the anniversary of the date my parents left Kentucky to oversee the move to Texas and I stood on the steps of my grandparent's farmhouse in that heavy almost blizzard and cried and cried and tried to figure out a way to stay there, to stay with my grandparents that were trying mightily to work it all out...my heart breaking on those steps...the snow falling, falling, falling, the whole world a study in charcoal and blue-white and mystery.
Full-circle? A long, slow full circle?
A phone call from a beloved cousin that had to move three hours away from where we all grew up, on New Year's Eve, summed it up very nicely..."Well, I'd rather be in Central Kentucky but this will do!"
Oh! The phone calls!
Where was I? Oh, I'm watching coal-black crows gobble up all the left-over biscuits, sourdough bread, muffins, and two perfectly round cornbread loaves I made just for them. The whole family comes up the front walk as solemnly and dignified as any deacon I've ever seen! *heehee*
And as for the snow...oh please, bring it on. More. More. I would really like to see the Ohio River frozen as it did when I was growing up. I think I can get back to the springs now, to see it frozen, waterfalling down the rocks, hidden and secretive. There is a whole bag of gently-smushy apples for the deer that hide back there, waiting for the perfect moment to be taken there.
Another moment to freeze in my memory perfectly: Baby Boy I and his wife standing before their vehicle, both of them dazzling in that brilliant golden sunlight...they could pass for siblings...they both have that silver ring around their iris (and such such uncanny blue eyes), the only other person I've ever known with that silver-ring is my father's oldest sister, my beloved Aunt N. and now, here is another person! Married to another person that has the same eerie silver ring around their iris! And so so Irish looking, the both of them. *heehee* In their good coats and gloves and scarves, hints of freckles still scattered across their high, fine cheekbones!
Georgetown University. Tufts. Centre. Drake. Honour graduates all of them. But, really, just awfully nice and decent people...with tons of style and wit and a love of fun and good food and books and...oh lord.
When I began this journal, I literally was trembling inside, so afraid I was...how ever was I going to do my part, get them out there in the world, support my husband as he worked so hard to help...stay there in a city that was literally draining my spirit and health...and oh, I knew what we were in for...we both knew, we took deep deep breaths and panicked and held on and I cried a lot into towels in the bathroom, with the shower running.
And now? I don't even have the words.
As we were falling asleep late last night, Himself said, "I think we did okay...I think the boys are reasonably in a place where they have the chances for the lives they deserve. And hopefully, now, our family is not ever ever ever going to slip down again."
A kind-of-Scarlett O' Hara As-God-As-My-Witness father/guy speech! He meant every word.
*crosses fingers* *lights candles*
However, what sent me into the study to try and sort out all these feelings and emotions was this: Someone, rearranged all the family photos with our poetry magnets to make a collage...For-Ever. At the top: Himself, Baby Boy I, (toddler size) and a barely showing me...the little rise in the sun-dress is BabyBoy II and behind us, with us with his arms about us all...is Himself, tall and long wheat-blonde hair, Oxford cloth shirt...in a semi-circle...shots of the weddings, the boys, us...more little magnets with funny and sad and serious couplets...at the bottom...FOREVER.
I managed to get through the morning...and I keep going back to gaze upon this...there is a shot of the boys on a sofa, so obviously brothers, their father stretched out on that old sofa, sleeping...he had simply collapsed there after coming home from his second job (and attending classes) and the boys were just arranging themselves to be close to him...I had stood in the kitchen and watched the two of them squeeze and arranged themselves, one boy (about eighteen months) the other about three, and someone had put magnets all around this old photograph I had inexpertly taken...For. Ever. Sun. Son. Life. Heart. Kin. Never Forsaketh. (Shakespeare poetry magnets.)
Probably a good idea I'm alone...but no one is going to touch those magnets for a long time!