My eldest cousin, Rosie Carpenter, passed away. As we visited with old relatives and friends, it was refreshing to recall old memories. Or not.
“Remember when you…” a story would begin, and then, straining to remember, struggling to find a sliver of that story stuck somewhere in a back room of my mind, alas, I could not. “Are you sure I was there?” I found myself wanting to ask numerous times.
The funeral home should win an award for the way they prepared Rosie. She was absolutely beautiful! They took her back 20 years! Standing at the casket, looking down at her beautiful face, a few memories did come back.
I was just a boy when she married my cousin, Dale. He was 10 years older than I, tall, handsome, quiet, and good-natured. I thought of him as the quiet gentleman my mom always wanted me to be. And Rosie? Well, Rosie was beautiful and hot! I was only 9 or so when she married Dale, but I was old enough to know hot! And she was.
My brother and sisters would go to Houston and spend a few days with Dale and Rosie (they were old enough), and they’d come back with photos of water skiing trips and trips to the beach, and Rosie was tanned and… did I mention, hot?
But, of course, we all age, and she became mom to two great boys, then grandmother, and great-grandmother. Banker, tax clerk, Sunday School teacher, bass player… she was quite a talented and gifted lady.
And looking at her this weekend I realized how much is really lost when someone of age dies. A generation of memories goes drifting by, and we hardly pause to notice.
Who’ll be here to tell the tales in a few years? No one. And that’s the sad part.
My brother and sister and I took a few minutes to run by the nursing home before we went to the funeral home. We visited with our mother for a few minutes as she hunched over a plate of food, not really knowing what to do with it. She moved food carefully with her fork from the plate to a cup, then back again. She put together one or two sentences, but they went no where. Just a blank stare from a mind that has lost all memory. She reminds me that there are worse ways to lose memories than by dying.
Still, as my wife and I passed through Kaufman on our way back home to Houston, I said, “I wish I had listened to more details from my mom when she told me about her family coming to Kaufman, riding in a wagon, to buy groceries and supplies, and to church.”
But I didn’t listen well, and there’s no one to tell the stories now.