Faint Memories of The Past

My mind is full of memories this morning…

Memories of days gone by. Long ago times , and I’m only 62. But it seems those “olden days” are recalled as the faint wispy smoke of a slow burning fire. Put a little effort into the fire and the memories are sharper, the smoke gets thicker and coalesces into stronger memories.

When I go back to visit Texas it’s almost a certainty that I will travel down roads and to paths of home, maybe reconnecting with neighborhoods, streets, towns, friends and family.

Passing through Liberty, Texas, last year, I dropped in to see my cousin, Jody. Out of the blue. Hadn’t seen her in a coon’s age. Her mom and dad had only recently passed away and I have excellent memories of hanging out with them. Bill. Kathy. Jody. Geraldine. Joe. I’ve connected with Bill just a few months ago and it was so great to see his bearded visage. One of these days I’ll get to hang around longer, stir the fire and share memories.

My dad’s sister passed away several weeks ago, and I have great memories of hanging out at their house in East Texas with my cousins. For the most part, they are all older than I, so, I’m sure their memories are different of the youngsters coming to visit. Diane. Carolyn. Dudley. Robert. John. Edna. RL. Not necessarily in this order, but I learned a lot about being around a larger family by hanging out with them.

It was a blessing to get to see Aunt Edna last February. She would have been 96 this year!

My mom’s aunt is getting closer to death. Eloise, my grandmother’s sister. My memories of her are more distant, but my mom calls her one of her most “favorite aunts”… Partly, I suspect, because they were so much closer in age than most of us think about with all our aunts and uncles. Loved getting to visit with Aunt Eloise and meeting a cousin, Dana…probably for the first time that either of us remembers! My grandmother has one remaining sister, Lunell, We tried to meet up but, alas, it did not happen.  One of these days…!

It was a blessing to get to see Aunt Eloise, last February…the same day I say Aunt Edna. They live fairly close to each other. She’s about 93… I think. I just connected with her granddaughter here in Washington State… I’m not sure I’ve ever met my cousins! Guess there may be some connection and reunion time in the near future!

I say this often, but it’s a special thing to connect with your family. And my family grouping is large. I have distant family living close, and close family living far. Regardless, they are family and I love getting to connect with them whenever and wherever possible.

This got me thinking about Abraham. You know, the patriarch of Bible fame. God called him to leave his family and to travel to a promised land. (Genesis 12:1) Back then, connecting with family from afar was so much different than today. When you left, it was probably for ever, and you would never get to share memories over a campfire again.

What you take with you is all you will ever have… So get your memories while the fire is hot!

Imagine all those intrepid explorers of hundreds of years ago. They traversed into the unknown, never knowing if they would make it back. How do you leave everything behind? I’m not sure. But again, you better take your memories with you… We moved between Texas and Alaska. Twice. And now we are in Washington. I’m blessed my kids are within a 2 hour drive either direction!

In our present world it is easy to connect, but it is difficult to take the ownership of connection. For some of us it feels like we are always the ones taking the first step and keeping the lines open so we can continue our family relationship. I have cousins I never talk to, and then I have cousins who contact me as often as I contact them. It’s like my siblings, we seldom ever get to talk, or visit face to face…but when we connect up, it’s almost as if no time has passed by. This is probably due to our parents who are the communicators between us. They know about me, and I know about them, because of my mom.

But when mom and dad are gone, will these wispy smoke tendrils simply fade away?

That’s the real question for all of us. Someone in our family tree takes the ownership of sharing family news. Who will pick up the reins when that person is gone? More than likely…me… It seems I’m the one who remembers birthdays, anniversaries, and other annual events. I may not always connect up by voice, but text, voice mail, email and social media help to keep the connections going.

Are you the one in your family that keeps the lines going? Praying for you…

Precious memories how they linger,
How they ever flood my soul.
In the stillness, of the midnight.
Precious sacred scenes unfold.

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