Last night, I stopped by my auntie and uncle’s house to do some catching up.
We all live on the same street, but you wouldn’t know it because we seldom visit as much as we’d like.
We have different schedules. We don’t worship in the same place on Sundays. We’re homebodies, which is why we’re seldom at each other’s house.
Aunt Mary, one of 15 children my grandparents had, was born three years before me. We grew up in a close-knit Family, one in which almost everyone managed to get a nickname (except me): Snook, Bunny, Sneak, ‘Lissa, Scooter.
On summer days, we played softball and basketball. We drank water from a spigot, long before the idea of a bottled water industry surfaced. We worked cucumber fields for extra cash. We did laundry and hung it on a clothesline to dry. We raked the yard. We burned trash in big drums before anyone cared about environmental impact. The girls learned to cook, some better than others. The men learned to work on cars.
We had a cherished childhood.
Our children don’t live like we did back then. We were children of the 70s. Today, children have the PS3, the XBox, Nook, hundreds of TV channels, and because of Pandora, do not live at the mercy of the radio.
My fun today isn’t the TV or video games. It’s visiting Aunt Mary. It’s sitting at my mother’s kitchen bar, watching her cook and holding a conversation about my children, her grandsons. It’s watching mom try taking in a game just to be able to converse with my sons about their favorite football team. She keeps up with scores and standings and buys them athletic wear for birthdays and Christmases.
Fun is eating Aunt Mary’s gumbo or potato casserole and listening to the sound of her grandchildren call her ‘grandma,’ a title once reserved for her mother.
When I was a child, I wanted to grow up fast. Now, that I’m 44, I want to grow older to see my grand and great-grands, live long enough to hear someone call me grandma.
I’m always pushing my boys to spend time with their grandparents, their aunties and uncles, to enjoy the time they have with cousins.
I know that as the years progress, Family members will slip away and all they’ll have are the memories of years, of times, of bygone days.
Last night, I stopped by my auntie’s house to do some catching up. I jokingly told her to be careful because my son, TJ is taking driver’s education now.
‘Hush,’ she said.
‘No, it’s true,’ I told her.
‘I remember when grandma and granddaddy use to pick me, ‘Lissa and Scooter up from driver’s ed,’ I told her.
‘I remember when we used to drive around the country and that was our driver’s ed,’ she retorted.
It’s true. Many of my aunties and uncles drove the old Cutlass from the country to town and back to the country, long before they went to the DMV to secure a driver’s license.
Lots of cousins drove tractors on Family farms before they transitioned into becoming long-haul truck drivers.
In a sense, life back then prepared us for what we do today.
Our grandparents, our parents prepared us to rear our own children.
They taught us to pray for these challenging times in which we live.
When my son walked through the door at auntie’s house last night, we both stopped to face him and took a good look. It was a look of awe. We saw my great Granddaddy Clad, her granddaddy walk through the door — tall and lanky, a size 26, with legs for days.
I know he’s learning the same way we did, surrounded and enveloped by Family.
How do I know? He always asks to go to his grandparents’ houses, the Family farm or to Aunt Mary’s.
He likes catching up.