Thursday, March 31, 2011

OTHERS HAVE GONE BEFORE ME

Lately I have been in a rather melancholy mood.  I am not sure why but then again I never know why I feel or think the way I do at times.  The thoughts that have been permeating my mind as of late are friends and relations that have gone before me.  There have been a lot of people that mattered in my life that have passed on.

I think of a few of my classmates from high school that are gone.  I remember seeing one my classmates little brother at the mall about two years after graduation.  After we said hello and asked about each other I asked about his older brother, Hugh.  Marvin looked at me and said "oh, Hugh died about a year ago in an auto accident."  It is news like this that comes out of nowhere and just gut punches you.  Hugh was gone and I hadn't even known it.  We had been good friends through our days at Ruskin. For some reason I felt like I should have known about Hugh.  My High School class web site has documented twenty four members of our class as being deceased.  That is like a classroom of people I went to school with that are no longer with us.

People I have worked with have gone on.  A few of them were my age and had worked at the company as long as I have.  Some of the people I work with have lost children to death.  The pain I see in their lives even several years after they lost their children is heart wrenching.

It is the family members that have gone before me that really hit home though.  I have been missing my grandfather and my uncle a lot lately.  Both of them were pillars of support for me when I would have start to have a slip in my thinking.  But then I think of all the others that I have known and were such great influences on me.  There are so many and all of them influenced me in different ways.

Aunt Mabel is one I think about once in awhile.   She was my dad's aunt and she was a lovely person.  Actually I can state right here that all of my dad's aunts were lovely people.  Those sisters were fun to be around.  Mabel lived in Blue Springs with her husband Dan.  They did not live far from the cemetery where most of the family is buried, including my grandpa Clark.  This made it a natural place to celebrate Memorial Day every year.  The family would all get together and have a marvelous dinner out under the shade tree in Mabel's yard.  A good game of catch would break out with a baseball amongst the men folk while the women fixed the dinner and sat under the shade tree and talked.  Then every once in a while a family would leave and drive over to the cemetery to pay their respects.  My grandmother is laid to rest there now next to Grandpa Clark.  It is the way it should be I think.

Aunt Irene was another of those sisters of my grandmothers.  She was a fun woman who was more tomboy than anything.  She loved to fish.  She would go fishing with our family on lots of occasions and even gave me a rod and reel one time.  She laughed all the time and seemed to find joy in anything and everything.

My Uncle Melvin has been gone for quite awhile now.  He was a preacher and he was my pastor for a part of my life.  I found out later that he had taken steps to be sure that Barb and I were able to adopt Brett.  Melvin was a strict disciplinarian but a wise man as well.  You can look at his children these days and see his influence on every one of them.  While he was my pastor he talked me through a few things and before long I came to trust him as an uncle, not a pastor.

My great grandmother, grandpa Hill's mother, was a saint.  She worked through a life that would have defeated almost anyone else.  She was also wise and a very spiritual and faithful lady.  I remember one time when I was about eight or nine years old I was sitting at her feet playing on the floor while she was writing her bills.  She called me up to her and showed me one of her checks.  "MAE D. HILL" is what was printed on it.  She said she hated her name.  It was that D in the middle of it and she would never use it.  She told me it was the name of the wickedest woman in the Bible and then told me the story of Samson and Delilah.

I learned so much from my Uncle Buster that it still baffles me at times.  He had a troubled youth and had made some mistakes in life.  He had paid his due to society though and had made a complete turnaround.  He was perhaps one of the most sincere men I have ever known.  He would literally give his shirt off his back if it would help somebody.  He looked out for other family members and f a need arose then Buster would be there.  He was brilliant as well.  He knew mathematics, science and history to a fault..  Well sometimes I questioned his take on history but for the most part he was right on.  He could also tell stories although there was no way any one could tell if they were true or not.

Then there is my Grandpa Clark..  I truly wish I had the opportunity to have known him.  I have seen pictures of him and he was a handsome man, much like my dad.  He was a self made man owning a bakery that did fairly good business from what I understand.  I would just like to have a few hours with that man, to hear his voice, to listen to his politics and philosophy.  I would have loved to have been able to spend a day in the bakery with him and watch his hands do a craft that is a lot more difficult than it looks.  I would like to know if he read books or not and what kind of books.  I want to know about his taste in music.  I would just like to have the chance to know him.  One day, when I go before others, I guess I will have a chance to meet him at last.

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