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December 2008 Archives

December 29, 2008

His favorite hymn was "Beulah Land"

The end of the year is closing in fast and I have to tell you, this has been one hell of a ride. And to be quite frank, I really don’t mean that in a good way. I have been in this slight state of panic for almost eight months and I am sick of it. I know that words are powerful, thoughts are powerful and love and hate although at opposite ends of the spectrum are both powerful as well.

Ah, gah. I was going to get all self-righteous and indignant and talk about how blessed we are and yet…. how bitchy… but you know what?

This calls for a story instead.

Let’s go into the memory file drawer and pull out something from the late nineties. How does that strike you? What about early nineties? Early Y2K? I’m just gonna close my eyes and spin around (watch out Zeke) and pin the tail on the….

Ew. Nope, putting that one back. It was the late eighties and there was bad hair, family drama and an ultimatum or two.

Closing my eyes…. Spinning around… pinning the tail on the…

Ooh, lookit this one. Damn, I’ve already told you that one before.

So much has happened this year, the memories that I pull out to look at like shiny baubles in a jewelry box just don’t have the sparkle that they normally do. Normally I can pull out a funny, interesting, crazy memory and I turn it over in my mind, almost tasting it on my tongue, hear the laughter (tears, screaming) and those are the things I want to share with you but sadly I am coming up blank. Well, not blank, just kind of stuck on one thing.

Let’s just get caught up a little shall we?

When I last left you a little love note I had just returned from Chicago with a wonderful group of people. The ones I call my tribe. Since then I have had something on my plate most days that I haven’t even been able to catch up on reading (stalking) my regular writers/bloggers/journalists. You know who you are, you cheeky little monkeys.

Thanksgiving was pleasant with family out at my parents’ lake house and then I ramped up for a three city conference that has been taking more and more out of me every year. I DID however, put up the Christmas tree. Well, to be honest, Mister put the three pieces together so that when I came home between the second and the third cities of that little circus there it was, the unlit, slightly lilting to the left tree. No skirt, no presents, no ornaments.

I righted the pitiful thing, plugged in the lights, put the skirt around the bottom and put three ornaments on it and called it good. Hey, last year there wasn’t even time to do that much, so I think it was an improvement.

I shopped for the family all day one Saturday and I wanted to punch most people in the face.

Hi, Santa, can I have some Christmas cheer and a big bottle of Belvedere Citrus to get me in the spirit of giving?

On the afternoon before Christmas Eve my daddy called me at work. “Hey baby, you’re momma’s come down with some bug. We won’t be coming over for Christmas this year… and one more thing. Your Uncle Gene? They called the ambulance to come and take him to the hospice today.”

Christmas Eve I wrapped the presents and Mister and I went over to my sister’s to spend the evening with her and her family. We really did have a good time. The kids went to sleep and the four adults (yes, I was included) opened our gifts to one another.

Christmas morning, Uncle Gene died.

Mister and I went back over to my sister’s house Christmas morning and while we were all in the midst of baking/cooking/eating/playing Guitar Hero World Tour my sister and I booked airline tickets and a rental car to get to north Georgia. The visitation was Saturday and the funeral was Sunday. My parents had packed up on Christmas Day and drove over.

My sister and I left early Saturday morning and got there around 2:00 and immediately changed clothes to greet the droves of people coming to my Aunt’s home to bring food.

That evening there was a line of people paying respects to my Uncle Gene and my Aunt that was three hours long. This is in no way an exaggeration. I wanted to be the last person in line so I could hug her neck, kiss her face and ask her if she would like to have a date with me on her porch that included a Diet Coke and about seven cigarettes. She said she would be delighted, she just needed to kiss her baby goodnight before we left. (heart = broken)

My Aunt is a saint y’all. A SAINT. The oldest of three children, lost her brother in Vietnam, lost her parents (to whom she was the main care giver) in 1991 and 1992 respectively (within 10 months of one another) and has been taking care of my Uncle who has been for the most part an invalid for the past five years.

All six of the first cousins were there with their families and when my cousin Beth walked in the door Saturday night I cried, and I cried hard. I had not seen her in seventeen years.

My sister and I are the youngest of the cousins and I… am the baby.

My Aunt and Uncle lived on the same property as my grandparents. When my sister and I were younger we’d be flying out my grandmother’s kitchen door as soon as we were done with breakfast running across the dirt driveway, down the hill, past the grapevines, the pecan trees and the garden… hopping the irrigation ditch as our mother yelled from behind us, “Giiiiiiiiiiiirls! Where are you going?” We’d yell back over our shoulders, “To Aunt Jean and Uncle Gene’s!”

We’d fly over the grass, pass the gravel driveway and leap up the stairs to Aunt Jean’s porch. Uncle Gene would have a project or two for us to do and their daughter, Lynn would have things planned for us to do as well… playing with Barbies, putting on makeup, loving on Lynn’s dog and feeding carrots to the pony across the fence.

And there was Aunt Jean, always waiting with a Coca-Cola in one hand, a smile on her face, a kiss and hug for each one of us and a question, “What can I fix for you girls to eat? We have plenty of everything, just let me know…” She let me play in her jewelry, taught us at Sunday school when we were in town and knew everyone and everything about what was going on.

She was on the radio and would take us with her to the station. She worked tirelessly for Georgia Power for a million years. She has always taken care of everyone around her.

Uncle Gene was my sister’s favorite when she was little. Since she was the first baby to come along since Beth (Chip, Greg, Lynn, Beth, my sister and then me) everyone wanted to hold her, love on her, coo over her and rock her on those fabulous rockers on my grandparents’ front porch. My sister was not a cuddler, she would squirm away from anyone who tried to hold her and she was fiercely independent. Uncle Gene never tried to hold her, he let her come to him, and so she did. She would just sit next to him and if she wanted to talk, he’d listen. If she wanted to read, he’d listen, if she wanted to sing, he would join her… his rich baritone voice would echo through the house just like it did on Sundays at church.

I have a friend* that has twin brothers. His family (and all that knew them as little things) always called them by one name AllenDarrell as if they were a unit. That is how I have always seen Aunt Jean and Uncle Gene. A unit. A force.

I know Aunt Jean is tired, I know her heart is hurting, I know she is missing her other half. So please, if you would, please say a prayer and picture her in light and comfort. My prayer is that she will find peace and a little release… some freedom from always being the one people turn to. Also, that she will know Uncle Gene is watching over her and that he is no longer in pain.

If you haven’t yet, today… right now, go grab your cat, dog, roommate, spouse, significant other, parent, parakeet, coworker, friend… and if you can’t grab them in a hug or give them a kiss, call them and tell them that you love them.

*I need to call him, he and AllenDarrell buried their daddy the day before Thanksgiving.

About December 2008

This page contains all entries posted to Suzanna Danna in December 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.

November 2008 is the previous archive.

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