Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things.
I have mentioned many times before about my large extended family. My mama was one of ten kids and visits back to her parents (my grandparents) house were always noisy, rowdy, and tons of fun. I was reminded of all those times last night when my mama had her siblings over to celebrate birthdays. She made chicken and dumplings, turnip greens, and one of my aunts fried hot water bread. Well, I wasn't invited, so my baby sister and I offered our services to help our sweet mama prepare all the food and to help eat what they could not - purely selfish motives! Shhh- don't tell our mother!
Have you ever been so awash with a memory that you thought you couldn't catch your breath? I felt like that over and over last night. To see all of my aunts and uncles and my mother gathered at the table together sharing a simple meal and laughing their heads off was a true joy for me. I was reminded of all the times we would gather when I was a little girl. I had the coolest older cousins on the planet! They would rake these huge straw piles into "houses" and they would hurl me headfirst into them! We would go scouting in the woods behind my grandparents house and spend hours out there. No tv, ipod, cell phone, or nintendo games. We just had to rely on each other to entertain ourselves. We were NEVER bored. But as much fun as we were having, the grownups seemed to be having more. I can remember thinking I can't wait to be grown so I can hang out with all the adults. Well, I got to last night and it is really funny how I felt like a little girl again and ached for those times with my grandparents.
See, my grandparents were poor. They had ten kids and only one income. Not an unfamiliar thing back then. My mama tells us constantly how they never knew they were poor. That was news to them when they found out. My grandparents supplied them with so much love and love for the Lord, that they couldn't help but be bound to one another the way they are today. Don't misunderstand, they aren't hanging out every weekend but when they are, they are as thick as thieves. I used to feel sorry for my daddy and all the other men that married the "sisters". If that sounds kind of cultish it's because they are. In the early years the men just kind of all hung back looking bewildered and scared all at the same time! My mama and her sisters have so many things in common, one is they are all phenomenal cooks, but the biggest tie that binds is their ability to boss. But, I noticed once again last night that the "in-laws" just hang out with each other and give them all the space they need to just be brothers and sisters.
It really is true that the older you get the more you treasure your family. Mine are certainly a treasure of the best kind.
This is seven of the ten. One brother is in heaven with his mama and daddy and two other brothers were unable to be there.
Did I mention that my aunt fried 60 pieces of hot water bread and one of my cousins was digging in the trash looking for a remnant of some because he wanted more? Yes, it is true, we have no shame when it comes to our hot water bread.
These sisters have been praying together A LONG TIME. Many of them were for me and I am so thankful. Thank you Mama and Aunt Pat for praying for all your family.
Aunt Pat and Uncle Darrell are the oldest two of the ten. I love that they are holding hands, just like they would have when they were 5 and 6.
At only eighteen months apart, people get these two confused often. I could always tell which was which by the one bossing me the most. Oh wait, that didn't work either.
Baby sister and me. We are wannabees. We have the bossy thing covered, but wannabees in all the other areas. Missed our other sister.
I hope these babies realize what a blessing their heritage is. I intend to tell them often.
I love to see my mama laugh. Aunt Libby looks startled at something someone said. She fakes shock. She is the baby of the ten. Don't let the title of baby fool you - there was plenty of boss left to go around to her. I know - she was in charge of me a lot.
Lots of laughter, good food, and hugs. Just like I remember when I was a little girl. I feel certain that if Granny and Grandaddy were not so busy doing heavenly things in heaven, that they would be holding hands and smiling at their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and one great-great grandchild gathered together. The fruit of their sacrifices.
Here comes that ache again.