The Things We Do

Allow me to share the most moving social media post I read yesterday  (Hey, YOU are on MY blog, it’s not like you have a choice):

“Having some sketti and pizzert in memory of my dad on his birthday!! He sure loved this place!”

Thanks, Angey.  I hope the sketti and pizzert hit the spot, in your tummy and in your heart.

I love it when life’s bus takes the occasional turn down memory lane.  Angey’s post jump-started my mind, thinking about the different ways I find to take life’s bus on occasional trips down memory lane. For a few months after we lost our mom, every now and then I’d call my dad’s house (when I knew he wasn’t home) so I could hear her on the voicemail greeting. Anytime I see a can of biscuits – in the grocery store, in a refrigerator, in the coupon section of the Sunday paper – I immediately think of my maternal grandmother and she’s been gone since June of 2005. Sweet potatoes, lemon meringue pie, the smell of a hot glue gun, a song, a color, a restaurant, a team, a calendar date . . . all things that tighten the strings of connections with people who are no longer here.

I’m acquainted with a group of guys that gets together once a year, every year. They meet at the same location, eat at the same restaurant, and laugh at the same old stories. On the weekend when this get-together is planned, their wives know that they’ll be single moms for a couple of days – and they don’t object. These men faithfully carry on this ritual in remembrance of a friend who is no longer here to take his place at the table.

I know families who invest much time and effort in mobilizing teams to participate in Relay for Life. It’s fun to see them taking their creativity up a notch year after year, having fun and raising money for a good cause – together – while honoring the memory of a family member.

The view from life’s bus isn’t always so pleasant, but thankfully there are some scenic routes to be enjoyed. Other routes get closed with “road block” signs, and sometimes the bus tires will never touch that pavement again. One of my mom’s Christmas traditions was setting up her ceramic Christmas village that she collected over several years starting around 1990. In recent years, she’d enlisted my niece and nephew to assist her in setting it up (and taking it down); it really was a large-scale production and a cornerstone memory for our family. Last August, we traded houses with my dad and I had every intention of carrying on that tradition. Until it was time to decorate. In just a few seconds I realized I wasn’t capable of carrying on that tradition. And I’m okay with that. More than okay. When Christmas 2016 arrives, the pieces of that collection will be on display in the homes of four ladies who were introduced to it by my mom. The bulk of those pieces will be with my niece, who will be celebrating her first Christmas as a newlywed bride. New roads have some pretty nice views to be enjoyed, too.

What about you? What connections do you work to keep open? What are the traditions, the rituals, the special things that help you enjoy the view from the bus? Where have you set up the “road block” signs or paved new roads? It’s easy to get down when we can’t see anyone else sitting on the bus with us. Sometimes a pick-me-up is as close as turning around and realizing there are other buses following close behind ours.

Whenever your bus is on one of those nice roads, enjoy the view. There might even be some daffodils along the way. 😉


3 thoughts on “The Things We Do”

  1. Thanks Andy for giving me a chance to share my tennis tree story. Donald was a tennis nut. He played with the same group of men for about 30 years. I called them his ‘little ole’ friends’ because he was about 45 when they began playing and he played for the last time about 10 days before he died at age 75. After he died I decorated a small ‘Christmas’ tree with lights, tennis ornaments and memorabilia. From the window it looks as though I forgot to take my Christmas tree down. When I come home, after dark, and see the lights shining through the window…. I think of Donald with a glow in my heart. Looking at the tree inside I see all the ornaments and gifts that were given to Donald, through the years. Most of them came from his group of ‘little ole’ friends’. That little tree has become a daffodil for me.

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