This weekend I was looking forward to just relaxing and enjoying the city when it empties out. But at the last minute I am flying down to North Carolina for a funeral. I’m taking my fiancé with me, because I want him to see one of the places I’m from, where there’s a street with the name Wicker, and the church has my last name etched in the stained glass, too. North Carolina is my first home.
I wish I had brought him down earlier, so he could meet my Aunt Sally, a woman who embodied everything I loved about the south: warmth, big long hugs, homemade pies made from fruit picked on her property, and an encyclopedic memory on her large brood and everything that has happened in that town since the 20s. She was a really important part of my life growing up. She and I hunted for roly polies under rocks, had “tea” in the playhouse, fed the cows and horses and geese, and wandered around for hours in her huge garden, literally smelling the flowers. She cultivated a sense of beauty and wonder in me, an appreciation for the small things. And yet I let myself lose touch after we moved away.
I started calling her earlier this year again, and I’m so glad I did. It made me happy to hear her perfect southern accent and let her wrap her stories around me like a hug. I kept thinking, “I need to get Illich down there!” But isn’t it just like life to smack us upside the head and say, “You missed your chance!” Just another reminder to not let life sidetrack you from what is important.
Tell me: what are you up to this weekend? Are you seeing family? Getting out of the city? Both?
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