A Weekend of Orchids

What a wonderful weekend!

I spent time with my aunt and my beloved cousin working on a special project.  How wonderful it was to have time with my cousin not sitting at the side of her hospital bed.  She is the toughest, frailest woman I know and I love her dearly.

I spent time with him.  We traveled to my niece’s home to attend her little girl’s first birthday party.  Our littlest great-niece holds his heart in her little hand.  He adores her and she adores him.  We went early to get some special time with the family.

We were able to help my niece and her husband get things together for the party.  I love the two of them so much.  She was the first child in her generation and I was still at home when she came along.  She was my first baby to love.  Her husband is such a loving, dear man.  He is precious and funny and I am always glad to see him.

The day also brought a moment or two to hug my brother and my wonderful sister-in-law.  My nephew and his sweet wife were there with their charming little boys.  It was great to see them!

Sunday morning brought a surprise to my door.  One of our “like family” friends came to visit.  We were expecting him and thought his wife was coming.  Instead he brought his mother.  She and my mother were best friends growing up.  It was wonderful to spend time with the two of them.  Our visits are usually as part of a large, loud crowd when we all gather.

We don’t all gather nearly often enough.  Mother had us all together three or four times a year and smaller groups rounded up in between those times.  Daddy was either on the ship or didn’t mind when he was home or didn’t say if he did mind.

I will not dwell on that.  We have plans in the works to gather some more.  I have a milestone birthday coming in the summer.  Time for a big party!  Meanwhile,  some smaller gatherings……….perhaps not so far away from Mother’s way afterall.

A note about the photograph.  It is a camping spot we used often and referred to as “the point”.  It is a short walk from my home and is full of memories for the people who loved my mother and her gatherings.  The park is only open for pedestrian day visitors now.  But, there are many ghosts of memories………..

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Adventure

I had a lovely opportunity to chat with one of my favorite people in the world.  My cousin is a few years younger than me.  But, he and I are close enough to have had some adventures when we were children.  Distant and hazy memories of times at our grandparents big house here in East Texas.  Blurred flashes of moments in time at his parents big Rock Church in the cedar brakes on the Paluxy River.  Our older cousin sat with us a moment as well sharing a glimpse back.  The event was to celebrate his mother’s 80th birthday.  She is sister to my father who passed away several years ago.

Driving home from the short afternoon affair held in a community event center, I wondered what was missing in these days.

Adventure.  So much of my time with my family and friends is spent simply gathering for a short meal or brief gathering.  Once upon a time, our families gathered in smaller or larger number to fish, hunt, camp, hike, swim.  Play.  Work.  Celebrate.

I think that is why my 48th birthday last year was so wonderful.  The children, he and I had adventures on the river and at the deer camp.  The trip to Oahu to visit with my son was special because it was an adventure with him.  The trips I take with my daughter to the beach are special because they are adventures with her.  The time I spend with him at the lease or on the boat are special because I never know what might happen next.  Always there are adventures with him.

All adventures don’t have to encompass a long trip or exotic location.  Those kind are wonderful, of course.  But, my thoughts and dreams tend to flow toward any kind of diversion. Whether croquet and horseshoes in the backyard; coon hunting in the woods after dark; floating in the cold clear river waters; sitting around a campfire reflecting on just which way that deer came out and turned before the shot was taken;  sitting silent and still for 24 minutes waiting for does to move away from the food plot unalarmed two months before the season starts;  watching all types of crazy moves on tractors and ATVs; riding along flooded roads and through wildfire smoke filled trails just to see and know;  checking hog traps after dark; watching him chasing hogs through the woods or across the cow pasture shooting at them; being married to him.

Life with him is an adventure.  It takes much of my energy and attention.  I love all of it.  Even when the fish don’t bite my hook and the deer wind me and the red bugs cover me and the wolf spiders try to murder me and the mosquitos bleed me dry.

I would like more adventures with my cousins.  But, this world has changed.  We have changed.  Things have changed.  I must make a new way.  Figure out a new plan.  Try a new adventure.  I will keep following my husband to the ends of the earth or the end of the dirt road.  But, I want to make time for some old time adventure buddies, too.  I miss them.  The kids we were.  The simple things cousins did.  Time together.  Period.  Time together.

Closer to now.  My adventure partners as they looked a little over twenty years ago:

 

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Magical days of childhood, who are these grown-ups I am talking to?  The names are the same.  The faces are oddly familiar.  But, who are they?  I loved the children they were so dearly.  I wish my memory was not so weak.  I would love to recall like it was yesterday, what we said, where we went, how it finished up in the evening.  I will, though, be content with my flashes of sight.  Like old grainy photos of the forgotten past, my mind flashes the sight of our past times on the screen of memory.  Adventures.