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Friday, February 26, 2010

Rites of passage...

Life is an amazing thing. As is time. They're both these things which are immune from the bonds of mortality which we're each susceptible too as people. You know, the things we try to get science to erase via nose jobs, botox and facelifts. No, life just has this way of being timeless. Time just has this way of being beyond timeless.

Some might call it living.

Anyway, this evening, in a city which commands the attention of free people everywhere, life, and timelessness, are on my mind. And they are so because of a city thousands of miles away.

Tonight, in Corpus Christi, Texas, my parents have arrived at their new home.

It's my family homestead.

As you know, if you read my ramblings, my father recently retired from his post with the Army Corps of Engineers. While I don't pretend to be a scientist, as he is, I do know he quietly and adeptly climbed the ranks of his position into this post of some quiet influence. See, unlike me, my dad is a quiet man. His work speaks for him, and his accomplishments are memorialized in medals and certificates I've only seen glimpses of since, well, allocates and honors aren't really my dad's thing. Nonetheless, I know this much:

My dad is one hell of a scientist.

Anyway, after giving of himself for the last however long, since 1992, I guess, He's decided it's time to watch the sun set on a life well lived in the world of work while the sun rises on the next chapter of what it is he's to do. Whatever that is, it's in Corpus. The city of my family. And the first order of business is that my father - as is his way - will make sure my Grandmother, Meme, rides off into the sunset in the most comfortable way imaginable.

My dad's back at his boyhood home to make sure his mom goes home... in peace.

If you know me, you know the great degree of reverence I have for my grandparents. My grandfather passed the year Lancaster newspapers named me a "bachelor of the year" and I spent my "article" paying tribute to him, his life's work and his generation's accomplishments.

That was 1999.

Over a decade later now, my grandmother is entering the sunset of her life. And with that sunset comes the passing of an amazing generation.

We think we've got it hard. We have no idea.

Anyway, as a son should, my dad - along with my mom who has stood by him for - wow 36 years now - has returned to our homestead as a family to make sure that what we are is a family lives on. And with his return, the idea of "home" has been retooled for a new generation.

Tonight, I'm thankful that Kyla will know what it's like one day soon to hunt easter eggs around the same pool I once hunted for treasures near on those mornings when the easter bunny left these eggs.

I'm thankful she'll get to know - as I do - the joy of coming down the stairs on Christmas morning to find a beautiful tree in the formal living room surrounded by presents left by Santa, who found his way down the chimney with these perfect logs which, for some reason, never seemed to move. She'll get to run down the hallways upstairs, get into trouble for reading the great history of our family as told in the keepsakes in the cedar chest in the upstairs hall closet, she'll joyride in the golf cart while learning how to drive and she'll probably sneak downstairs to grab some amazing cookies from the cookie jar which Meme made just hours earlier.

She'll commit the sins I committed in that same house while growing up... and she'll learn just how amazing our family really is.

I'm thankful that the place I've always known I could go home too - no matter what - will be waiting for her should she ever need to find the need to, well, go to a place where you're always family, and where there's always a bed, a meal, and a place to find rest at no matter what plight you might find yourself in as we travel through this life. As it has been for my brothers and me. As it has been for my parents and my Aunt and cousins. As it will be as long as life allows our family line to live on.

The ideas of 'home' and 'family' seemingly have become this disposable concept. But in reality, no matter the dysfunction, they're just as strong as they've ever been.

Tonight, I'm thankful my family - this generation at least - has been able to stake its claim and has been able to bridge the past to the present. It is the responsibility of future generations to ensure that what is now continues into what will be...

... but I'm pretty certain that will happen.

After all, we're family. That's all we've got at the end of all things, right?

Even at the end of a day. Like today. Like right now.

Here's to your family as we slip into slumber this evening.

And in closing, please, I beg of you - remember - there's nothing so wrong that can't be cured by what is right... when it comes to the unconditional love you find in a family. In any family.

God bless you...

-t.