Monday, May 26, 2008

Home for the Holiday

I was told as a child that my hometown got its name because some railroad men who were traveling through said, "That's some mighty green fields out there."

This weekend Greenfield lived up to its moniker.

The greens were in abundance -- winter wheat, beginnings of new (and for me) unidentifiable crops, trees stocked full of leaves, vines about to break forth with berries, and lawns that serve as more than an outline for the house which sits on the lot (McMansions are prevalent in Houston, but not Greenfield)offered up a smorgasbord of variations on the hue.

AND speaking of smorgasbords . . . my mother was at it again. Though my stepfather has been ill and she's his primary caretaker (you can take the nurse out of the clinic but not the caregiving out of the nurse), she laid down the spreads.

Since she's fallen pretty big time for my current roommate and "adopted" brother Roger, I think she was showing off. Friday night we arrived to ham, kraut with polish sausage, butter beans, turnip greens, Mexican cornbread and a peach cobbler. Saturday we attended the alumni banquet at my school because mom's class was celebrating their 60th and Sunday mom broke out the homemade tamales. Good eats!

I kept accusing Roger of trying to find his way into a non-existent will. He was the consumate Southern boy. He sat on the porch and chatted with them about life in the small town. He greeted every stranger as though they were long lost relatives. And he sweat his way through moving trailers, cleaning outdoor furniture and the first few hours indoors before he discovered they hadn't yet switched the central heat and air to air!

I value each visit home these days. Illness reminds you of the fragility of bodies and time. I relished the moments with my sister as she exercised and we both commented on the country music artists and programming on CMT. (They have a makeover show for mobile homes!) I jumped at the chance to walk with my brother and we exercised both our minds and our bodies as we covered everything from politics to relationships . . . without worrying about how far apart or close together we might be.

I visited the electronics lab that has given my brother-in-law the chance to finally put all the pieces of what's crashed around in his mind for so long together in some amazing ways. The fact that he gets to teach and inspire others is no surprise. I saw my sister-in-law who has been the ever present Karen to Kelly's "womb to tomb" Kelly and Karen package (those are his words, not mine) laugh and be the grandmother she was meant to be. I marveled at my beautiful and intelligent nieces and said the silent prayer of the non-mother that they always realize what they have and live up to the investment their parents have made in their lives. And I saw the difference time maps out on the bodies of old friends and adults I've admired since childhood.

Oh, yes, and we said hello to Daddy and Grandmother. It being Memorial Day and all, a stop by the cemetary on a morning walk seemed appropriate. Plus Roger had never "met" them.

All in all, the fields were ripe unto a harvest of good times. Greenfield indeed.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for reminding me of the beauty of our family. As the oldest of your nieces, I appreciate all that our family has to offer. I enjoyed seeing you and will talk to you soon.