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What Remains

A short musing to those of you who are my generation, to those of you who are, now, at the top of the ‘family heap’…

Summertime and family reunions go hand in hand. We had one once, the Daire family reunion. It was a few years ago and it was nourishing. Recently, there was another…some of the Daire cousins gathered in Ville Platte. Unlike the one before, sadly, there were no aunts and uncles, just us, the cousins. But like the one before, it too was nourishing.

All the usual ‘catch up’ conversations were spoken, black and white pictures shared, lots of sincere hugs, good food, and shared feelings that only cousins know about…all of that happened. I brought my mom’s old prayer book, not to pray but to look inside to find little handwritten info notes of relatives, long ago relatives, ones that had passed. She had their full names, dates of birth and death…people we never knew but somehow were special to all of us. It was a summer afternoon well spent. I write this, not to detail that time, for each reunion is similar in space and spirit, but to share a thought…

Before I went home, I drove down Beech Street where we all ‘began’, where our Mamae Mae lived and our mothers and fathers grew up, in a small house that brought them through WWII, the loss of their 41-year-old father, the Great Depression, high school, and all in between and beyond. The site of the physical place was graphic…this old house where a mother, father and five children lived was slight and depleted by now. I stopped to look for a while and tried to imagine all the life that had been lived in that little house on Beech Street. It was impossible; I could not imagine, and I knew that soon, the old house would be gone.

I tried, instead to think of the afternoon we just had, of the time we all spent together and the memories we shared and, more importantly, the memories we made.

I found comfort in realizing that our parents and grandparents can still be seen; their lives have spilled into ours, and we ‘see’ them in each other.

We are the heirlooms of our past, we are now at the top of the ‘family heap', and I think, we are all, in some ways, still Daires. As our little white house on Beech Street continues to ‘succumb’, our connection to then and now will not…

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