Monday, March 14, 2016

"In childhood, we press our nose to the pane, looking out. In memories of childhood, we press our nose to the pane, looking in." ~Robert Brault

That's mom and dad in the back, then Donald, JoAnn holding Kayla, yours truly, Frances behind me, and Jimmy Don. (Dad, Jimmy, Donald and Kayla have all gone on to their reward. )

That didn't last long did it? Talking about the weekend. That's pretty much how they all go. Quickly. But we find ourselves on the cusp of a brand new work week here on this Monday, March 14, 2016. The other day I mentioned about us taking a family trip on the train from Port Arthur, Texas to Fort Benning, Georgia. Since then I stumbled over the photo of us all ready to head to the train station in Port Arthur. While I can't be positive I believe this photo was taken in the summer of 1952. I do know this next one was made at Granny and Paw Paw Mac's at their home in Louisiana most likely in and around Resurrection Day of 1953. (It fell on April 5 in that year.) I'm almost sure this was our last photo as a family before dad passed away on January 2, 1954.  I suppose in some ways Train Rides and Tragedies became a major part of my recollection growing up. Not being morbid, just sharing the truth as I know it.

My mom always did the best she could in dressing us. That typically meant her doing a whole lot of ironing in addition to working in a job outside our home to support us all. She believed that we children were a reflection of her motherhood, therefore, she tried to make sure we always put our best foot forward. Thanks mom. You did your best even though you ended up having to deal with more tragedies than train rides.

Thinking about my mom and all that she has dealt with in her life makes me appreciate all she sacrificed for us kids. Because I too was a part of some of the great challenges we faced, it was hard to see past my own feelings in appreciating the great hardships she had to endure. Later, I would hear people talk about her strength and resilience in the face of what seemed to be one tragedy after another. While they often showed pity I could tell they also greatly admired her. Each of us kids handled grief in our own way but our mom had to continue to carry on, to make our way forward, to raise her children. Our youngest son often mentions the character and fortitude demonstrated in his Granny's life. So true. She often shares with me her regrets from not having done more for each of her children. I always tell her we couldn't be more proud of all that she did because she did all that she could. And, trying to identity all of her labors on our behalf would be more than I could write about even if I devoted days to trying. We are who we are today because of the grace of God and the devoted care of our mom. I thank God for her. Amen.

That's what happens when I decide to climb on one of those trains and travel to memory-land. It may sound melancholic but in actuality it's a blessing of a recollection. There's enough sadness to go around in our life story but I'm here today as a product of all that has happened. I thank God for His mercy, His goodness, and His grace. I've had people tell me to just think how things may have turned out differently if this, that, or the to other had not happened. Duh. You think? That's way too easy folks. Of course things would be different. In what ways? I don't know and I don't think anyone else does either. Recently the wife has been going through all our accumulated junk from the past 51 plus years. The other day she found an anniversary card I sent to her in 1969. That was the year I moved to Houston. Even though I came home when I could I had been working in Houston for three months and that was the first time since marrying we had been apart. (She and the two boys joined me in January 1970.) The card had a bunch of mushy stuff written about how much I missed her and how I would be coming to Louisiana on Christmas Eve. The theme of the card was how that she was 'One in a Million'. She was then and she continues to be today. What am I saying? Some tough times in life? Check. Some heartaches. Check. Some very dark days. Check. More blessings than I deserve. Check. Too many to innumerate. Check. All by the grace of God. Check. Including my one in a million wife. Double check and I have my own word on it, in writing, from 1969. Take care, enjoy today, and remember to count your blessings and thank God for them. Amen. ....More later.

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