Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Thousand Years of Memories

 We went down to Arkansas for my niece's wedding and stayed for a couple of days with my husband's step mom and her little Chinese crested puppy dog Bella, who growled at Turtle every time he came through the door until he won her heart with little bites of beef jerky. Here she is, madly in love with the hand that fed her.

Time passed it has a habit of doing, and we found ourselves at my husband's home church, next to the quirky little bell tower that stands among the pines in front of the sanctuary.
It was here that we came to bury his father, Paul, several years ago, and were astounded and amazed when we entered the foyer and found friends from our church in Oklahoma who had driven the eight hours to be with us for the funeral.

It was also here, twenty seven years ago, that we arrived, in shock, grieving over the sudden death of his mother, Elaine. I'm older now than she was when she left us. It doesn't seem possible. She and Paul were faithful members of this church and she had taught the children's church for many years. Here is a little garden area and fountain dedicated to her memory. I took a picture of Zaya and Mim as they played by her fountain--two of the great-grandchildren she never met.

Inside the church, in a small dressing room, there was scurrying and bustling as the bridesmaids, the bride and the bride's mother all dressed in an excited hurry. Princess dress? Check. Jewelry? Check.
Nails? Hair? Feathers? Tennis shoes? ....
Whaaaat? Tennis Shoes?

Turtle, the minister, and Chuckles, his brother, and the father of the bride enjoyed catching up on old stories.

Five beautiful little girls dressed in black, white and red--and the ubiquitous converse foot ware--took care of the rings, the flowers, the books, hospitality, and gifts.

It was sunny outside, but still cool enough for a little snow to nestle midst the pine needles and quietly melt. Zaya and Mim are children of the plains; they were impressed by all the trees and played outside for a good part of the time.

Inside, there wasn't a lot for them to do as we waited for the guests to arrive.
We visited.
Art read fairy princess stories to Mim.

Zaya read his new book--the Time Machine. Looking around, I felt a bit like I was in a time machine too.

Wasn't it just last year that I rocked my grandchildren's mom in this very spot?  And wasn't it just a few years before that, we had a wedding shower in this church, and I remember that the oh-so-naive and confident little new bride was me.

The older I get, the more I understand the Psalmist, who said:

         For a thousand years in Your sight
Are like yesterday when it is past,
like a watch in the night.

Psalm 90:4


Catherine Denton said...

Your connections are tied together beautifully in this post.

oldegg said...

This is truly a wonderful post of family history and the joy and sadness of life all rolled into one.

I have to admit it brought tears to my eyes.

Carina said...

I have to admit, every time we go to Arkansas I get emotional. We need to stop going for weddings and funerals and go just for fun again.

jaerose said...

This was a real journey - I felt you allowed us to come with you to this special place and to remember the sadness of the past and the hope for the future..Like OldEgg I found it very touching..time does move so quickly..Jae

Old Altonian said...

What a lovely family ramble, and thank you so much for sharing it with us. Just grand!

Dee Martin said...

glad you can't hear the loud honking noise as I blow my nose. I am not a lady-like weeper...
the connections through the years, the sudden shock of grief, the all-encompassing joy of birth, the lopsided circles that life travels in. I miss my mom.

aftergrace said...

Wow, this is an amazing post. It truly brought tears to my eyes. All of the memories, both good and sad. I know that the legacy left by Turtle's parents is such a blessing. They were fine people.
The That is an occasion to live it up a little-wear some Converse and treck into a new adventure.

Roshelle said...

For a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it is past, and like a watch in the night...

yet every moment counts. I, too, went "home" last week, and memories came a flood to me, too... and lots of stories shared that I was too young to remember. All the old and new thrown together- old roads and buildings, new relationships and children. It's all wonderful, but emotionally draining as well. You're talking about a wedding and I'm talking about a funeral. Both reduce me to tears much of the time... especially when it's pleasing to God.

I love that picture of Turtle's mother in the next blog... what a treasure. You can see the joy radiating from her. It's precious.