Thursday, July 3, 2008

Life cycle events

I missed a wedding this month. Schedule got too overloaded, work buried me, after working 60 hours I just could not drive 4 hours. I don’t usually miss life cycle events….. Lord knows I have been to a prodigious amount of funerals in the last month, especially when I am so young. I much prefer weddings.

My clan has enjoyed a number of memorable weddings and quite a number of them “stuck”. One of my FAVORITE weddings was when my uncle got hitched. I was fairly young at the time—he was only 8 years older than me, maybe I was in my early teens, and my uncle was living something of an alternative lifestyle with a shared house out on a levee my aunt and others in the family did not approve. The wedding occurred at a small country church, and I thought my aunt to be looked unbelieveably beautiful in her absolutely perfect cotton white summer dress. Well maybe there was some polyester in it somewhere. That dress has become something of an icon, bell sleeved, empire waist, A-line 70’s—defining a time and a period, which they keep bringing back in retro fashion lines and in movies like Across the Universe. The good ole’ days.

I remember the wedding cake—there may have been petit fours, I remember the punch and getting sugared up in the church hall. I remember the Indiana suffering heat, which even today can knock me flat, and I supposedly grew up in it. And then, what I most remember, is we had to go down a bunch of rural roads and park our car and get on the bed of a hay hauler while a tractor drove us up a washed out road to the party at an old farm house set way back from the road. The ride was bumpy and kind of like a carnival ride, and the party was a baseball, play in the overgrown grass affair. I think my folks called the place “Tick City” but I remember none of us kids got ticks, and I know it was a totally fun afternoon, completely child friendly. Must have been good energy because the happy couple are still together, and some fancier shindigs resulted in all kinds of fractured families. Getting together is easy. Staying together is the work of a lifetime.

Getting married is jumping off a cliff into a great adventure. Parts of it will be wondrous and happy. Parts of it will break the hearts of all involved. Married folk get to know each other better than any body, and yet look at each other across a table sometimes and wonder who the hell that person is sitting there. Life has a way of sanding off the edges. Bend, or you will break. A person ends up doing a lot of things they said they would never do—good things and horrible things. It’s part of the ride. Cherish each other and spend a moment each day appreciating.

And then I went to another funeral, this for a man who clearly lived life fully then dropped instantaneously dead after never being sick in his life. It’s the stuff of legend. He never got the chance to become a burden on his family, just gone, stunningly, achingly gone. He luckily had lived a complet and loving life and left with no regrets, and one hell of a legacy. What amazed me was that this guy retired a few years ago and an army of his colleagues showed up. I was joking on the ride home that if I keeled over tomorrow, I doubt if the folks I work with NOW would take a day off to memorialize me, let alone the folks I worked with on my last gig. So I really thought about how I would want to be remembered. Definitely want to be crispy fried, name on a plaque in a children's library next to the OLD books....

The cycle of life is so completely visible to me. Its hard to get mundane at a time like this. But laundry must be done, AGAIN, and groceries must be procured. The most exciting thing in my life is a new refridgerator…..and that says volumes about where I am at right now.

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