Thursday, December 2, 2010

Memories At Thanksgiving

{Alabama road where I roamed as a child}

Farewell, Thanksgiving. After the weeks of thankful anticipation, you came and went in the blink of an eye. Every moment was savored and enjoyed; maybe that's why they slipped through my fingers like sand. Time flies when you're having fun.

We traveled across two states to my hometown in Alabama for Thanksgiving this year. Usually, we host Thanksgiving at our house for DH's side of the family, but this year we rearranged things a bit. My Dad's older brother (his only living family member) and 3 of his 4 daughters, along with their families, made the trip all the way from Georgia, and we had a family reunion Thanksgiving. None of us had seen each other since my Grandmother, "Nanny" passed away, six years ago in January. It was time for a reunion, don't you think?

{all the cousins, except for my brother, Jonathan (died 1991), and another cousin, Sandra, who had to work)

My brother, and his family of 6 (, now reside in the "homeplace", my Grandparent's house, where they raised four boys and farmed for a living. We all gathered here to give thanks, and it really was a good day. Despite John coming down with strep throat, Emma falling off the top bunk, Grace throwing up at the dinner table, and cousin Jamie falling in a hole and spraining her ankle, we still managed to have a great time. Some of us cousins haven't spent much time together as married adults, and it was fun to get to know the newer versions. Our children met some of their 2nd cousins for the first time, and I believe lasting friendships were formed.

{a hayride full of cousins. I love how my daughter, Grace, is captured in a full belly-laugh)

{gathering of great-grands. Eight were missing. My two girls were napping, and Leta's oldest was absent, as well as Sanda's four and Cynthia's daughter}

It was bittersweet for me, reflecting on days that are now by-gone. I found myself fighting a lump in my throat, thinking about the precious ones that are already in heaven, making it even sweeter. Both grandparents, two uncles, and my own sweet brother were not there in body, but certainly in spirit. I saw Papa Cooper in my Dad's soft, smiling mouth and twinkling eyes. I heard Nanny in Uncle Vernon's laugh and saw her in his gestures. I heard Uncle James Harold in my brother Bradley's voice and was reminded of Jonathan when I looked in my oldest nephew, Emory's eyes.

My Mom surprised me with a stack of pictures that I had never seen before, snapshots from childhood and before. And as I looked at faces that I will never again see in this life, I was thankful, for the time we did have with them and the memories we will never forget, that death cannot rob us of. And for the hope of heaven and the final reunion of all reunions.

{Jonathan and I, a couple of years before he died}

Now that's something to be thankful for.

*Thanks to Leta & Lisa for all the awesome photos!


Bradley Cooper said...

Well done, Ame.

No Ordinary Me said...

I am glad you had this special time.