Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A North Dakota Memory

I am sure I am making some of this up. But I remember standing at the cemetery in the summer, with people all around. The grass was golden brown, tall at the edges of the road. There was dust in the air that muted the headlights of the procession of cars still coming in. We were waiting to bury my grandmother. There were grasshoppers and it was too hot. It was quiet. Time seemed to be standing still. But someone’s children began to run, to dart around our legs, to call to each other, to laugh. Someone snapped “That’s inappropriate!” No, I thought, that is very appropriate. She loved them, she loved her children and her grandchildren and her great-grandchildren. She let them make fizzies in the summer and mix soap suds in her old butter churn and grind crackers in the old meat grinder and roll cigarettes for her and play in her yard and pick her zinnias. Life goes on. The only appropriate thing to do at a cemetery in August while you wait for the line of cars to make their way in is to laugh, to run, to play, to feel the sun as warm and the breeze as cool, because life, well, life goes on. Life goes on.

1 comment:

Chuck Comstock said...

I was living in Kansas City when my mother called to tell me her mother, my Grandmother Eaton has died. My dad's mother had passed away while I was in college and dad insisted I not come home for the funeral - didn't want to interrupt my "education", I guess. So when I got the "call" something kind of snapped and I jumped into the car, kissed my wife good-bye and drove nine hours straight to get back in time for this funeral. Mom asked me to say a few words over the grave, and, in my usual procrastinating way, I didn't really think about it much until it was time to speak. Then, as it all too frequently does, some desperate inspiration struck and I reminded those present that this was more than just my grandmother. She was a mom first and sweetheart before that. And a young woman (hard as that was too imagine since she was pretty matronly the entire time I knew her) before that, and a teenager and a tomboy and a toddler, and it all just started to make me cry and really miss her, kind of like I'm doing right now...

Well done, Karma.