As things kicked into gear we still weren't sure if we would get to see Bruce and Linda, knowing they would want to make sure Uncle Fred was OK before they headed to Little Rock. It was around 3:00 when they came rolling in to join us. How good it was to see them.
There was a birthday cake with candles for Mammaw B to blow out, and the singing of "Happy Birthday" as only our family can do, and presents to open. Our topics of conversation stretched from one extreme to another. Let me share a little with you....
-Most of us may not be so well-traveled, but some of us have really gotten around. Linda and Bruce shared about their trip to Alaska - telling fish stories about King Salman some four feet long (pardon me, Bruce, if I don't get all the details right). Linda told about being on the ship on the way home and coming through huge glaciers. She said she heard what sounded like thunder, but there were no storm clouds in the sky. Then as huge pieces of ice came tumbling down, hitting the water, she realized the noice she heard was the cracking of the ice as these huge pieces broke loose. They talked about all the wildlife they saw and just how breathtaking the scenery was.
-At one point during the afternoon Mammaw B spoke up and said that on November 29th she and Pappaw would have been married for 80 years. Well, that's not exactly what she said, but we don't want to upset Uncle Fred at this point. Anyway, we had to do the math to get the number of years right, but can you imagine!!! They would be having an 80th wedding anniversary. How many of you remember the 50th anniversary we celebrated with them? The squares we each embroidered and the secret meetings we had as we put the family quilt together for them.
-As Larry and his family were "trying" to leave, somehow Larry was reminded of an experience he had when he was on a bus in Romania with Uncle David and Aunt Geneva on a mission trip. I'm not real sure about sharing the details of this story.... but... it sure brought laughter to everyone who got to hear this one!!
-Linda talked of how beautiful Madison (Pat's grandbaby) is and how she was happy the entire time she was with them. She and Bruce brought pictures of their grandson, Blake, but none of their daughter, Reanna. Now what does that tell you?
Of course there were a lot more stories as our conversations continued throughout the day, but, as always, I want to take my liberty to share my own thoughts with you:
As we planned this party I kept saying it's not really a birthday party for Mammaw B, it's a party for Bruce and Linda. So that was my mindset. Linda was sitting next to Mammaw B when Macy, Kelly's daughter, came into the living room. Macy, who is almost 5, is all about family. She loves her cousins and loves to spend time with them. Anyway, I introduced her to Linda and told her she was my cousin. I told her that Linda and I were best friends when we were little girls. What an understatment. I told Macy that we spent the night together, played with our Barbie dolls, dressed up and danced. Just like she does with her cousins. I've not been able to get those memories out of my mind since Sunday. I could fill a notebook with memories of time spent with Linda. What friends we were growing up. We shared everything. Some of my favorite "one-liner" memories - just between you and me, Linda:
-you introduced me to cinnamon toast
-long talks as we sat on the steps of the Methodist church
-hanging the laundry out on the clothes line
-walks all across town in J'ville
-street dances, Youth Center dances
-knowing the guys in "the band"
-Steve and Jack Ellis
-What was Freddy's last name?
-late, late, late nights at your house
-week-ends, turning into weeks together in the summers
Here's to you, Linda. I wish we had had more time to visit. Our lives were totally intertwined as children and moreso as teens. Somewhere along the line we both grew up , fell in love and started our own lives. It was so good to be with you Sunday. I hope you know that we all love you.