Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Passing of an Era

August 4, 2012

Life is a mixed bag of events. You win some, you lose some, you cherish the good memories, and try to move on from the bad. I’ve been so very blessed in my life with good memories - so many, I’ve discovered, I don’t remember them all until reminded.

This morning, I was up and out of the house at six o’clock to meet my closest cousin to end an era in our lives. This man is more brother to me than cousin. We were raised side-by-side, our respective parents in my maternal linage being siblings, and then he and I only children. I met him on the road in front of our grandparents’ house and we shared coffee and memories.

We grew up in the modest brick house attached to an old log cabin, built by our grandfather. I lived there longer, but it hardly matters. In the late 1950’s we were all there - grandparents, parents, and two spoiled toddlers. The bond remains strong whereas all things brick and mortar are fleeting. While the brick house stood firm decades beyond the crumbling logs, Time will have her way. Her most wicked tools are not wind, water and fire, but the stubborn pride and fragility of humans in declining years.  

When our grandfather passed, the last of our first generation, all agreed my cousin should get the home place to ease the way of the fourth generations, and to place a trust for the fifth, which is growing. To build their future, our past must give way.

My cousin-brother and I reminisced for a while, and then Time demanded her due. By ten o’clock, the brick house was gone. In some small selfish way, I’m glad no future stranger will ever live there. It belonged to my grandparents, and they to it. The joy that lived in the house was Family, and I’m well content that it will always belong only to us.

As I write this, the smell of smoke lingers, but is already fading. What will never fade are the memories of life in that house, that haven a good man built for the family he cherished above all else. It was a hard decision, and my cousin-brother and I have shed tears over it, but never harsh words.

Would our grandparents be sad to see the house gone? I’m sure they would be. It was their home, where they raised their family into the third generation - my own. But now a new house will be built, almost where the old one stood. Another member of the fourth generation is about to marry and, hopefully, in due time, present us with new toddlers to play in the yard where my mother and uncle played, and where my cousin-brother and I picked dandelion blooms on bright spring days for a nickel.

And that will please the spirits of my grandparents.

KC Kendricks


Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing this wonderful part of yourself. How amazing to grow up in such a place. It's tough to see a central piece of your childhood go, but it will continue to be a loving place even as a new structure takes its place.

KC Kendricks said...

My grandparents had a profound influence on my life. They simply gave each of their grandchildren three acres of ground on which to build their homes. They taught us to take care of each other and stay close, too. We're just passing on what they lived, every day. My grandparents won't know their great-great-grandchildren, but those kids will know about them and what they did for their future.