Monday, March 19, 2012

Whirlwind trip home (with a tiny [and I do mean tiny] bit of bikey stuff)

I took an impromptu trip to Memphis for my great aunt's funeral which, despite the reason for the trip, was pretty enjoyable. Scott B retrieved me from the airport and spent most of Tuesday evening visiting with me, Mom, and stepdad Pete. Wednesday was Aunt Bernadine's memorial service in Arkansas and one couldn't ask for a more beautiful day in which to be in a cemetery. I saw a lot of family members whom I haven't seen since childhood and even met a few cousins who were born after we moved to Tennessee.

Family plot.
Family plot in Forrest City, AR.

The graveside service was brief and touching. The church dinner was filled with amazing food. As I posted to Facebook, there is nothing like a church dinner featuring fried chicken and fried okra made by good Christian women. Between the dinner and the celebration service, Mom, my sister Mimi, and I drove around Hughes trying to remember who lived where and mourning the deterioration of the tiny farm community.

Papa and Gram
Papa and Gram's headstone.

The celebration of my great aunt's life was quite beautiful. We learned a lot about Aunt Bernie that even Mom didn't know. Family members shared amusing and touching anecdotes about her and most everyone left the service feeling peaceful.

Daddy B's window
My great-grandfather's (Daddy B) memorial window at Hughes United Methodist Church.

Mom suggested I ride home with Mimi so we'd have time to visit. I hardly ever get to spend much time with my sister and we both enjoyed the time together. Mom stopped to visit former coworkers when we reached downtown Memphis while Mimi and I continued on to her house in midtown where we held an impromptu happy hour on her front porch. After a couple glasses of wine (her) and a couple of wine coolers (me), I set to work doing a bit of maintenance on her bike while she and Mom strolled around the block with my nephew Bear on his tricycle.

Thursday was Mom's and my day to play and we shopped like we had money. She's lost a bit of weight and wanted some jeans and slacks that fit. She found the slacks (and I found some dresses and shirts) at Dress Barn and then she hit the jeans jackpot at Kohl's. Good gravy but my mom has legs that go all the way up. She strolled out of the fitting room in a pair of jeans that took 35 years off; I swear that she looked like she did when I was a little kid. It took some cajoling and pushing until she finally saw in the mirror what I saw.

We got home in time to play a game of Scrabble -- I beat her like a baby seal -- before heading out to celebrate my brother David's birthday at his favorite sushi restaurant. David and I are seriously cheap drunks but we can, thankfully, hold our sushi.

The thunderstorms promised all week finally arrived Friday morning just in time for my departure. I'm normally a fairly calm flier, but while I donned my warpaint that morning, the Today show ran a story about the dangers of planes being struck by lightning. Fantastic. I phoned Scott to tell him I loved him, just in case, and sat back for the bumpy ride out. The plane made it safely to sunny Charlotte, NC, and arrived in drizzly Dulles, VA, on time.

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