Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Red Umbrella

Another funeral today.
I'm wearing black. . . with a red jacket.
That is, if the funeral protocol police don't eject me at the door.

My daughter and her husband will be there, shepherding my grandchildren through the solemn family line, explaining to them that their great uncle Bennet has joined their great-grandfathers on the path that forges ahead and out of sight.

It brings me back to another day...another funeral. On a cold February in the gloom of southern Arkansas, we huddled, shocked and silent in the gray cemetery among the pines as friends and family joined us for the burial of Turtle's mother--as kind and cheerful a woman as ever I had known. Then, as if in a torrent of sympathy for our tear-streaked faces, rain fell.
From my shielded position inside the canopy, I watched as umbrellas appeared all around, gray-black and properly somber. Then, through bleary eyes I saw a marvel--a bright red umbrella in the crowd--bobbing a little, hesitant, not so sure that it belonged.
It was carried by a frumpy little lady, a close friend whose loyalty was stronger than her sense of appropriate.
I smiled--even chuckled quietly inside-- and that secret joy brought comfort.
That was twenty six years ago, but I still smile when I remember it.

So today, I'm wearing a bright red jacket.
I'll be the frumpy little lady.
Maybe, someone will smile.


Carina said...

I wore a red shirt for kind of the same reason. =)

It means a lot to us that you came. Thank you.

Rose said...

such a good memory.

aftergrace said...

Sometimes the color worn doesn't matter as much as what is in the heart.

Roshelle said...

Lilibeth, you're amazing. I love this story!