This Christmas season I drove from Cleveland, Ohio to Huntsville, Alabama with my six year old daughter. She had to "go potty" after 30 minutes on the road and she was homesick and crying for her mom after an hour. She called her just about every hour until mid-afternoon.
If you don't have kids, you should know that they really do say, "are we there yet?" every 15 minutes. She was fine from mid-afternoon until our return sixdays later.
While there I attend the funeral of my deceased father's brother-in-law.
"Proper Etiqutte for Greiving People" is one of my blog entries. You can get a feel for my family's approach to death or maybe it's mostly my tongue in cheek view.
I did get to see one of my favorite cousins and his family. Funerals are usually bittersweet in that way. I hadn't seen Keith in such a long time. We and his deceased brother grew up together.
I hadn't seen his daughter, now 19 since she was a child and I don't think I had every seen his son. He is a computer guy for a major coporation. I vicariously visited a jazz club in France through one of his stories and likewise went to England with his wife and daughter. A family with great character. I talked to Keith about my pending divorce of my ten year marriage while sauntering down my mother's quarter mile long driveway and back. Boy what a contrast... his family to my no family. It makes the sense of failure more pronounced.
Of course mom ran me ragged visiting her siblings. I didn't see anyone else on her side of the family like my two favorite cousins from that side. However, because of the funeral I saw plenty of relatives on my dad's side of the family.
My sister's ten year old son introduced me to his snakes, a python and a King snake, to his dog "Sabbath" and to lots of "Star Wars"sword play with faux light sabers. My knuckles still hurt.
I did get to spend a half hour in one of my favorite haunts... "Books-A-Million" with in-house coffeehouse. I also got to read in the middle of the day! What a luxury. I just finished Octavia Butler's, "Fledgling". I really like her stuff but I don't know if I'd recommend this one. Washington Post's Ron Charles loved it. Read his review .
I went to a church service with my si! ster and her husband on Saturday. It's an "apostalic/prophecy" m inistry. The pastor and another fellow had a word for me which I wrote down. The next step is to judge it against the word of God and see if things bear witness to it. Among other things I's supposed to have a healing ministry and healed finances. Hmmm. Sometimes I miss the days when God's prophet road into town at almost high noon and said, "straighten up your act or else!" Kidding. Praise God for his grace and mercy and the pastor did say I was balking at God in one area of my life and that I was to "eat the whole Lamb." so it wasn't totally soothing itching ears. We will see!
The ride back to Cleveland went without incident except for Marathon gas stations along the freeway that all closed at 8:00pm... just when I was almost empty and ready to fill up. go figger!
On the way back my daughter's song changed from, "are we there yet?" to "do you miss Nana?" (my mother)every forty miles. Finally I said, "not as much as I miss you not askin' me that question," ! to which she replied, "Oh, I'll stop asking you daddy... are we there yet?"
I have lots of CD's but no CD player in my car. I managed to collect a few cassettes so we sang lullubys and folktales in spanish and listened to Tracy Chapman and made up stories. this was interspersed with "Dad! Hellooo! I'm Huuungryyy!" everytime she thought there was a Mikky D's in range. It took my a while to catch on to the fact tha near the end of the trip she wanted the "Happy Meal" more than the food . I have big problems with our consumer culture but I acquiesced a bit since McDonald's is now promoting C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia. I know, I know, I'm a sellout. Leave me be and go read C.S. Lewis' , "the Problem of Pain."
So all in all it was a wonderful time, bitter-sweet funeral included, and mom only overfed me twice!