Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Greenwood Family

Today was Uncle John's funeral. We got up early this morning and headed down to Clarinda. I stopped at Uncle Art's house to leave Leica in an outdoor kennel. It was perfect. We talked for a few minutes until it was time to leave for the church. Max and I took off and when we arrived, we were escorted into a room where the family gathered. Lots of cousins!

There were 23 of us cousins. I remember one single time when all of us were gathered at Grandma and Grandpa's house. That was a wonderful party. I quietly sat on the living room floor and listened to everyone telling tales and laughing and enjoying themselves together. It only happened once.

I'm part of one of the youngest families of cousins, so most of my cousins were much older. They were already 'cool', in high school or college. I just wanted to hang around them. So, I stayed quiet, hoping no one would notice how late it was and that I was still up. I moved myself into a corner and enjoyed myself. I'm sure that mom and dad knew what was happening, but they didn't care. That night was special!

Today, a good portion of us were gathered again. Some of them I haven't seen in 20-30 years! Some of them had an incredible impact on me as a child, others ... not so much. Today, some of them ignored me (I guess being high and mighty is appropriate for them - ack), others came to comfort me, others were just glad to see me. I listened as my cousin Charles told me about his son. He was so proud! Dan graduated from ISU with an engineering degree and is employed by Caterpillar in Peoria, IL as an engineer. Charles' mother, Ruth would have desperately wanted him to finish college, but he was needed on the farm. So, this graduation was a big deal in the family. The pride in his voice was apparent. His sister, Cathy is so tender-hearted. All she wanted to do was care for the people that needed love today.

I could go through the 7 Greenwood families one by one - these families are so well-known to me. We span all of the personality types and we range from insane to mundane. My husband has thoroughly enjoyed the tales during our drives back and forth through Iowa this week.

I called my nephew, Matthew today. He got a 23 on his ACTs and was really excited! After congratulating him, he began asking about the family. Oh, I have stories and I'd love for him to have some of these stories in his mind. We talked about Grandma Greenwood. She was a wonderful grandmother. The epitome of a grandma. She had long, gray hair that she tied into a bun. But, at night, she would let it down and brush it 40 times. We'd sit and talk and she pulled the brush through her thin hair. When I saw her the next morning, it was always wound up again. She was soft. She wore cotton print dresses that smelled terrific! That was because we always hung her laundry on the lines outside. That was always a chore that I helped her with. It was a joy to be with her. But, when she sat down on the sofa and invited me to sit beside her, I would nestle in her arms and feel the softness of her. The dress, her skin, everything about her was soft.

Grandma raised 8 children, she lost her youngest, David at the age of 10 to polio. That made my father the youngest child. Those seven remaining children had families, who have had families and her legacy is carried through. If you ask any of us what that legacy is, it is our faith. Grandpa was a preacher, but Grandma was faith epitomized.

Today's tribute to Uncle John was atribute to his mother and the way that she raised her children. We're very fortunate.

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