These days I only seem to have time on the occasional Saturday morning to visit here and say hello. The last few months at work have been incredibly full, with the two most demanding events in my job description falling back to back in February and March. Add to that my father's death and you can understand how I overlooked the fact that all the promotional material for Marlee Matlin went out with the wrong day (correct date) on it. Big Cringe.
Anyway, we were back in Connecticut last weekend for dad's memorial. It was a good weekend, in spite of plans for virtually everything that wasn't the memorial service itself being very fluid. I've learned over the years to be a lot more relaxed than my natural "J" tendency would suggest, but the vagueness of plans was a bit much in an already emotionally delicate weekend.
There were, at least, a few tasks to be done that helped ground our time there. Mom, for instance, arranged the flowers for the service. We headed out Friday morning to select the blooms, and I took my camera. I suggested that some day I should document "a day with mom." Think of this as a dry run (even though I didn't get any pictures of her actually putting together the arrangement).
There's an especially good floral/garden place not far from where she lives, which is where these two photos were taken. Talk about floral heaven! It's a refrigerated room filled with color, fragrance and texture. It was hard to resist choosing something from every bin, but resist we did. The parameters for choosing the blooms were a request from Linda (dad's companion) that the colors be bold. It's not as easy a task as it might appear, in spite of all the choices! Fun, nonetheless.
In keeping with Quaker simplicity there was one arrangement, flanked by two candles. Even though the hint of March's heatwave was in the air, it was cool enough on the day to have a fire in the fireplace. Think of it as a perk of Quaker worship. The logs that were burned came from the apple tree in dad's back yard that finally went the way of all living things a couple of years ago. Dad loved that tree. He gazed out at it through the picture-window in the dining room from his seat in the living room, reflecting on the parallels between its life and his own. Those reflections generally found their way into his Christmas letter! By the time the service and accompanying reception concluded the ashes were cool, and we scooped up a bunch to mingle with dad's cremains. I can see his satisfied smile.
On Sunday our cousin Ginger, who came from Atlanta for the weekend, took us all out to brunch. Afterward mom took her to the airport while the rest of us convened at dad's house to take a first pass at some of his things. The house is now Linda's, and she will remain there, at least for a time. I think for all of us it felt a bit surreal. We each selected a few books from dad's massive collection, and I came home with a box of letters and photos that had been his mother's. There are some real gems among that assortment, included a photo from the 1880's of the choir from the Wilkes Barre Methodist Church. And to think that all these years I thought my grandmother was a homegrown Presbyterian! (Her mother is in the picture of the choir, but there are a number of church-related items that make it pretty clear this was the family church.) I plan to scan a lot of the photos, and then some of them will go to Mt. Holyoke, my grandmother's alma mater. This is the centennial year of her graduation in 1912. No doubt you'll see a few of these in due time.
Sunday night we enjoyed dinner with my dear friend from grade school and matron of honor, along with her husband and mother (my godmother) and mom. We shared a selection of tasty goodies at a local Thai restaurant, concluding the weekend with full tummies and some good catching up with old and wonderful friends. I had to chuckle when my godmother leaned over to whisper to Ken, whom she had not met before, "I like you better than I thought I would."
Back in Tennessee life goes on, and I now have the task of figuring out how to get dad's piano shipped here. It's the one thing that has been in his possession over the years that I have wanted when this day arrived.
When I can find that time to sit and compose the post I want to share something about which my brother spoke so eloquently at the memorial. For now this post has rambled on long enough, and it's time to tackle today's to do list.
Until the next time, may the luck of the Irish be yours.