It was her oldest sister’s 94th birthday celebration, and my grandmother’s attendance (and ours) would be a surprise. You may question the wisdom of surprising a 94-year-old, but my hearty great-aunt took it in stride. After “Do you remember Uncle So-and-so?” and “Now how long has it been since I saw you?”, our rather noisy tribe began our lunch as we continued sharing all that has happened in our lives since who-knows-when.
For over two hours, everyone asked about loved ones unable to attend, elders quizzed youngers about college studies and life plans, and grandmas and great-aunts lavished on little ones the hugs and kisses so caricature of reunions like this. Some were teary over memories come and gone. All of us laughed at the siblings’ difficulties in finding their places in an age-order lineup.
Sharing about first cars, my great-grandparents, and growing up in a time that seems so far away, Nana, her brother, and her five living sisters recalled memories that are only stories for me. For a few circles of the minute hand, we mentally stored away family history, laughed until we ached, and tried to capture on camera the significance of the afternoon.
And then it was over. We parted ways and traveled back to our daily lives, leaving the old Texas farm stories behind to go on to live the stories God has written for us.
Generation after generation, decade after century, daughter after great-great-great-great-grandmother, life is short. The times may change, and the scenery will certainly be different. But my 94-year-old great-aunt was once my age, and maybe someday, Lord willing, I will be hers. One day it will be the life I am living now that becomes a storied memory of a far-away past.
Even if only for that reminder, it is good to go to San Angelo every now and then.