Yesterday was a wonderful day. Tim and I went to his family reunion. The weather was perfect, and it was well attended.
If you all remember, his family meets at the old family homestead, and we bake wonderous amounts of bread in an outdoor woodfired brick oven. This year, Tim oversaw the baking of the bread without the supervision of Uncle Herman, who is in his nineties now, and having some trouble with blood counts. He did get there, and he seemed to be energized by the family which surrounded him, and it did my heart good. His brother-in-law, Uncle Chuck has lost even more weight. A big robust man who serenaded Tim and I with a barbershopper song the first time I met him, Uncle Chuck is now thin. He ate little, and I heard him talking about his wife who lives in a nursing home and does not always recognize him.
Our elders are getting older. Gene (Hi, Gene) began to collect their stories, and I think that is a wonderful idea. "How many people were born in this house?" he said, pointing to the old homestead. He was. Other voices claimed it as well. "Who remembers the 4th of July parties when Uncle Herman and Uncle Harold would give us plane rides? Who rode in the plane?" And hands went up once more. I listened enthralled as memories were recounted.
We drove home in contented quiet, each of us with our own thoughts. "We need to get a recorder for these stories," I said to Tim, lost in the thoughts of life as it was when our frail patriarchs and matriarchs were young and running the festivities. When Uncle Herman was flying a plane (he crashed it, and according to his own words, Aunt Anna would not let him have another ~ he still has the wooden prop in his garage). When Aunt Ruby remembered Uncle Chuck. When Aunt Hazel was not slumped over in her wheel chair.
Their grandchildren are having great-grandbabies now, and it would be a shame if they never heard the stories of the people who came before them. I suddenly found myself wishing that I'd thought of it before. I worried about how many stories would be lost forever by the time next July rolls around.