wasn’t as long as I expected.
didn’t outlast the decades.
The pyramid at Giza,
The hanging gardens of Babylonia.
You may fool the Trojans
with that horse
but you no longer
When I was a little girl, I loved visiting family friends whom I called Aunt and Uncle. While I was raised as an only child, they had eight kids. I loved going there to ride horses, watch papers being burned in the pot belly stove, pick cherries in the orchard, play with all the cats, follow around the old dogs, sit on the huge front porch watching the lake twinkling below or being read to. I loved bathing in the old claw-footed tub and playing dress up in the attic. I loved the morning schedule posted on the bathroom door! (One bathroom, 10 people…) There were two sons and six daughters, all older than me. For several years in the 70s their weddings were the highlight of my summer. Once when I was really little, I ate a wedding cake with walnuts and had an allergic reaction. We drove into town to our hotel to get my allergy medicine so my lips wouldn’t swallow my head and I was heart broken that they wouldn’t drive back to the wedding!
Auntie Sheila had a heart as big as the world and gave awesome hugs. Her warm presence made everyone feel at home. Uncle Fred had scary eyebrows and often freaked me out with his booming laugh. I couldn’t quite get the joke a lot of the time. (It was probably better that way, come to think of it).
Time passes and Auntie Sheila and Uncle Fred are gone now. Today their six daughters came to visit my parents. It was so lovely to catch up a bit and rekindle a bit of the magic of a big family full of stories and memories. The eldest keeps everyone on track. The youngest talks the most (just like at my house!). The banter and stories was so gloriously like it was when they were teen-agers. One expected Auntie Sheila to come out of the kitchen to add to the story, and Uncle Fred to suggest the men retire to the den to leave the women to themselves.
It is a blessing to have old friends, but when the old friends have gone, it is a special gift for the children of old friends to visit and share a bit of respect and history. I know my parents will be talking about this visit for years.
What a precious gift we give our elders when we share some time and memories with them. It’s like giving back lost friends for a little while.