I attended a funeral in God’s country last week. The gathering was in honour of a former neighbor. He and his wife raised nine children on a small farm just north of ours. Our lives were intertwined on many levels. His older daughters babysat me. I think his sons may have helped my dad on the farm. I went to school with one of his younger daughters, and we still keep in touch. Mom made the best macaroni salad she ever made for one daughter’s wedding. We rode the bus together, played together, fought the odd time. We drove by their farm every time we went to town. For seventeen years they were part of my life. Then I moved away. But still, we were connected. Mom always let me know if something happened in the family – an birth, an anniversary, a wedding – and they would ask about us. And then I moved back. Special occasions in God’s country meant I might run into one family member or another. The son of one of the granddaughters plays hockey with Derek. I found a couple of them on Facebook. I reconnected with my schoolmate when she moved back home. They didn’t seem too strong, but the connections were still there.
Then I went to the funeral. And I saw every family from our district represented there. I rode the bus with most of them. It was community in its strongest sense. And I visited with the family, and it was so very good to see them all again. And it was like stepping into the past in a way, because everyone knew who I was, and I knew them. We just had to catch up a bit with each other’s lives, that was all. We really could have been sitting on the bus again (and veering into the ditch because the driver had been on a bender the night before. But that’s another story. And I don’t think that family was on yet that morning. But I digress.)
And this connection played in my mind for days. How can I sit down and talk so naturally and easily to someone for so long when I haven’t seen them in 30 years? I guess the relationships you form in your youth are always there, waiting to be picked up again like dropped threads. And I find that very comforting. I think that is why I so enjoy going back to the land of my birth. They know me there. They know my story. And they care, because there is a connection, and because they know I care. It really doesn’t get much better than that!
Thanks for checking in!