Mama had a birthday. Last Friday, she turned eighty years old. In light of that, My sisters and I, after months of deliberation, decided to take Mama to see her cousin, Yvonne. We had a car packed by ten am, on that day to head to Salter Path, NC.
Salter Path is situated on a small island just an hour , and the best part of another, from Mama’s house. Yvonne and her family, have called it home for more than fifty years-in fact, they are a well known family there -and not only because of their well established shrimping business, nor because of their admirable work ethic, but also because they are good people.
In summers, long past, Cousin Yvonne would load her car up with her four children and hid inland to see all of us. I loved those days. The cousins and I would play in the shade. Angela and were close in age, so we were fast friends. We wrote letters for years, as children rarely used a phone. The boys were so cute-and quiet. They weren’t nearly as rambunctious as every male cousin, inland. The baby Debra Lynn, was adored by all of us. It was always a grand event, when they visited. Cousin Yvonne was and is a happy, smiling person. She is Mamas’ first cousin, and the granddaughter of “Mama Hodges”. She was the least stern of the adult relatives and because of that, we were “good as gold” in her presence.
Mama and her sweet cousin kept in contact, but visits became few and far between. I suspect , we kids kept them busy. At long last, we were united again, for Mamas’ birthday. It was as if, we had not spent years apart. Right off, we were crying and chattering. It felt like a “homecoming”, of sorts. . .it felt like it was everybodys’ birthday!
They are a loving lot to one another. They were to us, too. We left their home on the blue sound, tumbling by, with lovely memories-and shrimp! . . .vowing to visit more, as we ought to.
Now nothing else could compare to that afternoon, but we had several nice meals at some local restaurants and one morning, we went to the beach. We visited several shops. One night we took a personality test. That was interesting. My results were quite accurate. I have taken this same one before, and as it turns out, I am still a procrastinator and I still can’t bear lists nor schedules.
We came home on Sunday. It was another spring like day. We all dreaded parting and whined about it as we tidied up the cottage. We all agreed that this was time well spent . . .and that Mama had enjoyed her birthday.
Monday came along-and that changed everything. Even the chill of February returned. Now, there were routines to follow and housekeeping. I am quite satisfied with my work and even the chores of tending a house, but often I thought of my cousins and I missed them. I thought of Mama, turning eighty. Of course, the world is full of frightening news-and I thought of that, too. What a contrast of things to consider.
Life can be very somber sometimes. The last few years, have been somber ones. Fear and anger have resulted in a sort of chaos. This lingers heavily. If there has ever been a time for us to examine and define as precisely as we can, what we love, what we truly value and what matters most to us, it is now. Somehow, in this time of suspicion, greed and all sorts of division, we must seek that “peace that passeth understanding” with a zeal. In some way, all the static, seems to make this effort, easier, for the circumstances almost implore us, to do so. Whether we want to or not, we will discover who we are. Dire circumstances tend to sharpen with precision, our senses . It is as if, the truth pierces obstructions, to find us.
To counter, all of the harshness, I strive to maintain some sort of balance, in hopes it will preserve my sanity. For this reason, I look for violets, and sprouting lilies. I listen to music and read inspiring passages. I think how Mama was so happy on her birthday weekend. I plan for Hayleys’ wedding celebrations. I hope to paint a picture soon, and if all else fails . . . I think of my loved ones . . and I will remember my cousins.