Friday, September 24, 2010

Four more ties bind us to heaven...

...four more links are broken here.

This is the month in which my family can count as four the number called home; Grandma Mary Jane and Aunt Mary Lou, (1968) Sister Audrey, (1992) and Great Uncle Jess, (1998).

My Grandpa Lloyd always used to remark that if he had to chose a time of the year to "go home" as he put it, he guessed that September would be the best month of them all. Next to June, he considered it to be the loveliest of months and I would have to agree with him.

In the Midwest, September still holds a gentle warmth but with just a teasing hint of crisp and cool. The shadows lengthen, the leaves start to turn, the sky takes on a certain shade of...oh, I don;t know what you'd call that color blue but it's just a blue that is unique to that time of the year.

Yes, if one had to close their eyes to this world, September in Iowa might just be the best time if not for you then certainly for those left behind to attend the funeral. Harvest hasn't started yet so you're sure to get a good crowd. The weather is perfect for standing outside on the hill under the open sky. No spitting rain mixed with snow, no river to come up and flood the road and turn the place to mush. Just the sun and the turning fields.

I have often wondered if my sister's monument has posed a little mystery for the Grave yard fans of South Eastern Iowa. Back in the early '90's, hers was one of a kind and one of the first "portrait" markers to make an appearance in the Winfield cemetery.
(The last I was ever there, 2004, I was glad to note that we had started a trend so to speak)
Anyone who can do simple math can figure that Audrey was 34 at the time of her death and yet, the picture on the marker would lead one to believe that she was a little girl. What gives, right?
The fact is that in many ways, sister was a little girl. She never got that tall, she never seemed to age much. At 34, she could still pass for her teens. Audrey spent the majority of her life, 33 years in fact, severely handicapped. She died of complications from pneumonia from a bad flu bug that some well meaning visitor had brought into the nursing home the month before.
When it came time to create her monument, my Mother wanted something that was a stand out, something that would last, something that people would stop and gaze at and wonder. I would say that between her and the designer in Burlington, IA, they did a heck of a job.
Unlike most of the stones in that cemetery which are all facing west into town, the ones for my branch of the family are facing one another. Some are facing west and some, like Audrey's, face east.
(I forget Granpa's reasoning behind this set up but it suits us very well for we appear to be sitting down at the big dinning room table, starting with the oldest to the youngest. Should Mother Marie, a devote Seventh Day Adventist be correct in that the dead in Christ shall rise first, we Chrisingers will have nothing to see but one another when the trump shall sound)
At any rate, there is a spot next to Audrey which is mine. Yes, I have laid on it, even danced on it just to say that I could and did in fact dance on my grave. Someday I should love for a huge and somewhat terrifying angel to sprout up in that place with spread out wings and an unsheathed sword. Oh, how I should love to even start the rumors behind the armed angel of the Chrisingers if only to give the future grave yard rabbits a little mystery to figure out!

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