Friday, April 19, 2013

give mom a nudge

My uncle Walter died Monday night. He was old, ninety-one and he'd been having heart attacks, time to check out. We accompany my father to the wake service and Big Dave and I are the youngest in the room, wow - how often does that happen and there are a lot of really really old people wandering around, pocketing the free green spearmints sitting in bowls everywhere. 

We slowly move forward in the long snaking line towards the casket and the ancient fellow tottering in front of me turns with a dazed look and asks, "where is the bar?" I don't know if he's kidding or looking for that cold one, I just shrug my shoulders and smile, I figure that would answer either issue.

I am studying the memorial pamphlet, all the information I need regarding date and time of the program, major players in the production and on the back page some one's hand holding a royal flush all in spades and I'm hoping that's Walter's hand.

We never partied with my mother's family that much. I just figured my father's side loomed bigger and better in our social schedule but I came to find out that my mother just wasn't interested.  She was an odd little introvert never worrying about whose toes she might step on with her social absences. Her siblings were wise old farmers and they let people be what they needed to be or not be in this case. My mother would attend her annual family reunion in some park north of her old town. She ate her sandwich and played euchre with two of her sisters and her husband, separate from the rest of the party, just enjoying the game.

I see Walter's brother and three sisters, the last of the nine children sitting in chairs frontside of the casket. They are chuckling and nudging each other and glad Walter is removed from all earthly pains. I see my aunt Leona all 4 foot eight inches of her and she is wearing black leggings and knee high boots resplendent with buckles. She is well into her nineties and straddled a Harley three months after her own husband's death just a few short years ago.  "Flash would never have let me do this," she giggled referring to her beloved spouse, "Flash" (Paul) Gordon, yeah you read that right.  She and her older sister Irene rode eighteen hours on a bus five years ago to attend Obama's first inauguration and Leona's only concern was finding a mirror to shave her moustache each morning.
 Bon voyage Walter, give mom a nudge.