Paul's cousin and her husband, Glenda and Emory Jones, met us in the foyer of the church and we went to our Sunday School classes this morning. Immediately I felt at home - there was Glenda, Charlotte Vines came in - my old friend from high school days, although she graduated from Burnsville; Nancy Brinkley - the daughtor of my teen years mentor, Willard and Herbert Robinson. She looks and sounds just like her mother - I thought I would cry, and felt like that teenager way back when, as soon as she prayed later in the class. Willard's voice! Time just turned back! And there was Peggy Thorne - I asked her which Thorne? Hosea! My cousin! He looked me up later in the sanctuary; we didn't get to talk much today, but I want to visit with him some more. Some years ago we exchanged Christmas cards and then just gradually lost touch.
I don't know if everyone has these kinds of feelings when they move "back home." Gratitude, welcomed, gathered in, like a sigh, arms of a whole community and every connected cousin and cousin-in-law you can imagine, not to mention brothers and their families, just open wide for you. You know they're as glad to see you as you are to see them. In a community this size (about 2900) it would be very easy to know just about everyone if you've lived here all your life, which we, of course, have not. But no longer than we did, the roots are here and we can feel them pushing further down into the rich soil of the families. I'm thankful for Brenda telling me histories, connections. For 40+ years I've heard about the people, now I'm finally getting to know the people. How many emails have we exchanged over the years with her telling me about this one and that one; or reading obituaries in the paper we continued to receive... Or birth and wedding announcements, decades passing and the children of our classmates recognizable, then their grandchildren only if we read the lineage, the grandparents' names, sometimes the surname making them recognizable.
I will hear Paul talking to men at church who are welcoming us - "You don't know who I am, do you?" (He recognizes many of them.) And they are surprised when he tells them; they grin and shake his hand and I know they have flashbacks to the younger days, just like we do.
Yesterday one of our "near" neighbors, about 3 miles away, brought a cake to us. Her husband Earl (who graduated with Paul) had invited Paul to his class a couple of weeks ago and that's where he went today; and Emory is in Earl's class, too. The cake is delicious lemon. I took Mama Nick some today for lunch when we stopped by to see her after church. Paul's brother David came by also and we got to visit with him.
I'm going backward here through the last few days... Friday night Paul and I ate with my brother Mike and his wife Marsha. She was kinda tired from babysitting - they'd had Tyler overnight while Morgan and Steven had a date night. Not being used to nocturnal squeaks and grunts from a baby, she didn't sleep very well and was up quite a bit. But it was good for Morgan and Steven to go out, though she did call the grandparents a couple of times to check in. And of course Marsha loved it - I don't think Mike got up with him, though! This time...
So it goes - many boxes still to unpack, but beginning to look like home. The TV stand Paul and I put together Thursday night just about got me; I finally had to just quit and go to bed. I said never again will I assemble a piece of furniture. But already I've looked at end tables for the living room. I think we'll first look at the furniture store here for something. He finished the cabinet and made adjustments to the drawer Friday morning; meanwhile I nursed my aching back from being down in the floor, holding cabinet parts and such, like I was 36 and not 63!
Every chance she gets, Lucy comes to help me check email, Facebook and write here.
No, Lucy, I didn't ask for a binder clip! You're gonna get your head stuck!
(She didn't. And the binder clip she pawed out is, of course, on the floor.)