Monday, August 22, 2011

The Wedding

The gravel complained as the car drove into the driveway. My son parked the car. As I hopped out of the car, she ran down the front stairs. With tear-streaked faces, we were home again.

I went home to Neff Road for several reason. A major one was that my best friend's daughter was getting married. She was the last of our children to wed, and I wasn't going to miss it. Two families together as one. Brenda loves my children and I hers.

It was rehearsal night when we arrived. The atmosphere was light, and I was lighthearted being with my childhood friend. Brenda and I sat on the front porch talking, diving into a conversation that had waited a year. After awhile, my son came out to get drinks for everyone in the house. It dawned on me that the kids had all decided to leave the mothers to themselves. We had been sitting alone and didn't even notice.

I sat behind family members I'd know all my life. Brenda's aunts and uncles were mine, too. We nodded and smiled. Those I didn't recognize eventually came to mind. They were kids when last I'd seen them. Now, they had children.

Brenda's grandson sat on my lap. His twin was sitting two rows up with his aunt. It was what family did, right? The flowergirl, Addie, came down the aisle.....drop flowers, jump over them, drop flowers, jump.... Well, you get the idea. Right on her heels came the beautiful bride on her father's arm. I was there when that man took my friend as his wife. Yes, I was home on Neff Road.

I sat at the table with Brenda's cousin and her daughters whom I'd never met. The evening was delightful for on Neff Road there are no strangers. I sat with Grandma Margaret. Holding her hand, I felt the hand of my mother. She was not alone at the table for the spirits of Hollie and my parents were there as well.

That night we stayed in Centerville. Friends and family gathered the next morning for breakfast. I looked over at Margaret and knew instantly that something was wrong. My daughter-in-law got behind her and held her while I ran to her holding her hands and her firmly in the chair.

"Call 911!" I shouted.

A doctor was with the wedding guests. He asked her questions and told us to hold on to her. I whispered to her that she was okay, and I would not let go of her. My face was wet with tears. By the time the ambulance came, she was improving. She'd probably had a small stroke. "I will not let go. Please don't you let go." She is my only surviving parent.

Family. I went to be with mine. The distance between Oregon and Ohio could not keep me from the place I needed to be. The bond that was forged sixty-four years ago maintains its strength in those who branch from it.

When I left, a woman and man were married. A grandmother was walking around smiling. Two families once more said 'good-bye'. And, two women from Neff Road have new memories.

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