It has been awhile.
I am reeling, somewhat, for now suddenly it is summer and my mornings are slower, or at least different– the bedroom cool and damp and the world outside a humming green, coffee, stacks of books, the creek sliding by. It is in these moments that I am trying to collect myself, to gather and remember, to be thankful and to prepare for all that is to come.
On May 23rd, while I was painting paper plates in a Central Pennsylvania field with children on a field trip, Grandpa, our great pal to all, passed away.
Talking to my dad on the stoop of our woods house that afternoon I thought that maybe I didn’t feel anything, the news of it expected but still so strange to hear. I sipped a beer numbly, heard the kettle inside rumble towards a whistle. At the end of the call I began to cry. Later, Grandma called to say You Better Have That Party, and reminded me that Grandpa was the greatest party animal of all, and he would be disappointed if I conducted my life any differently.
On May 24th I turned 26 and the guests began to arrive.
There were some already, of course– Ken and Christina had been staying with us for a few weeks, and their camaraderie in those days leading towards summer feel so far away now, but I am remembering them with great poignance.
The New York ones pulled into the driveway in Saturday’s earliest hours, the Ohio ones in the morning, and then the SoMD ones and the Baltimore ones and the White Haven ones whose bodies I held and hugged the longest. The town ones came, one by one until we had gathered in great numbers and Helena, the fellow birthday buddy arrived and then it became a party.
These events so close together– news of death followed by raging birthday party weekend followed by funerary proceedings, of night sounds and hugs in the driveway and phone calls and notes and dance parties both lying down and upright, of the breeze in the kitchen and friends scattered about the house, of drives across the state and sneaking food in the funeral home back-alley, of red carnations, of whiskey, of frankincense– were a lot to take in.
These cats– of condolence and of celebration– are just another example of how lucky I am that we can be a place for a beautiful people to congregate.
Thank you, to all.
from CIOCI TINA
from zee MADRE y PADRE de Jake
This is an oldie but a goodie– received this past Christmas, “CATS” can currently be found on our coffee table, bringing happiness to all.
Also from these fine folks…
Madre knitted me a leaping cat… with three legs! So, finally, Olive has some representation on the family altar.
So painfully adorable.
That great lady thinks of me every day, but especially when in Europe, and when confronted with these fine felines.
from JON & KAZIA
Books to read while visiting the bass room.
from IGGS and FRANC’
A cheerful addition to my mug menagerie. Going strong since 2006.
from Auntie L
The late great Aunt Lauri’s ceramic cats came up from Maryland in a black and white straw basket, nestled together. We have hidden them about the house for love and for luck.
from POOCHCAT & GARRETT
Butts! SPOILER ALERT: I HAVE ALWAYS WANTED THESE; THANK YOU.
And, a fancy scarf to accompany a Christmas present from our other sibling.
A letter so simple and lovely it made me cry in public.
And, last but not least, from our New Zealand wonder.