The theme of June 09 for me and my family is unquestionably generations.
This theme began when we moved Ann to Baton Rouge at the beginning of the month, the beginning of the “empty nest” for Sarah and me as we confronted the prospect for the first time since being newly-wed, gazing at one another and declaring, “Baby, you’re all I’ve got!” And we’ve grown closer together as a result, it seems.
Then we went to New Orleans week-before-last with Zach and Autumn and Payton and did all kinds of stuff I remember doing with my parents when I was a kid: riding the street car, visiting the Audubon Zoo, walking Canal Street and the French Quarter, and having cafe au lait and beignets at Cafe du Monde. And here we were, grandparents, watching Payton digest the same adventures!
We visited Rocky and Carlo’s in ancestral St. Bernard that week, too, with Zach and Autumn, helping me remember the evening family gathered there before Daddy’s open heart surgery umpteen years ago to feast on mac and cheese and oysters one last time before the sobering surgeon’s knife did its life-saving work. Before Rocky an Carlo’s, we also took a detour down Friscoville Avenue in Arabi so Zach and Autumn could for the first time where old Papaw lived just a few blocks from the levee.
Then, we come to the past weekend at Daddy’s birthday party in Bogalusa, attended by ancient family friends and relatives and memories as far back as I can remember. My favorite remembrance was Lorraine Jenkins’ recollection of her Dad, beloved “Uncle Gordon,” who stated way back in the late 50’s/early 60’s, “I wish Brother Pulling would preach on the radio. Then I could turn him off.” We laughed loud at that. I can hear my late “Uncle Gordon” uttering such a good-natured jab at Daddy. Daddy and Uncle Gordon were mutual admirers. And I admired (and still do) Uncle Gordon.
This generational theme was solidified last week when Zach sent the photo of him and Payton in front of Laurel Falls in the Smokey Mountains National Park. I remember Laurel Falls from childhood, and Mama probably has some pictures from the time they brought us as kids; my family went to Laurel Falls on a Smokey Mountains vacation less than ten years ago, so we have some pix of the time we brought them; and now, Zach has pix of his own little girl revisiting the sights and scenes of her ancestors.
“Thank God, praise God, thank God.”
That’s all I can utter, reflecting on a life so richly blessed from generation to generation to generation.