I awoke today to the smell of no-turkey. It's not time and we are going elsewhere. I awoke to the sound of no-television -- the kids are asleep. I awoke today to the sight of no-light -- it was too early for the sun. I awoke today to the feel of no-warmth -- I had kicked the covers off.
I'm dwelling in a null-time.
I awoke remembering a particular Thanksgiving. I was about Entropy's age -- maybe 9 when we spent Thanksgiving with my Aunt Elizabeth and Cousin Margaret and Vi. I suppose it was in the 1960's. We took Papa with us to Margaret's house off Scott Blvd in Decatur. She had collected her mother Elizabeth earlier in the day and they had gone to church to take communion. Both Margaret and Elizabeth had white lace scarves still draped on their heads when we arrived. Even though they were Episcopalian and the scarves were not required, it just wasn't seemly to go to church with your head uncovered. They both mourned the passage of white gloves and hats.
Elizabeth was Papa's youngest sister. She was his favorite because they were the closest in age. By this time, they were both in their late 70's -- Papa had been a widow for quite a while and so had Elizabeth. Elizabeth was a beautiful woman -- stout and solid, yet, but with beautiful white wavy hair she caught up in a French Twist, blue blue eyes, a long patrician nose, ears that looked as delicate as seashells set in her hair. She was a woman who always smiled and had a twinkle in her eyes. I loved my Aunt Elizabeth. Her daughter Margaret looked so much like her -- elegant and a true southern lady. They wore matching pearls and twin-sets that day.
My father was Margaret's first cousin -- and even though there were cousins that numbered more that 80, she was his favorite. They both were only children and were close in age -- and grew up just down the street from each other. They were close as brother and sister in some ways.
I don't remember a lot from that Thanksgiving -- I remember playing with Margaret and Vi her husband's kitties and bunnies. I always had a Vimont kitten. The last Vi kitty was my mother's cat Willie -- who died almost 5 years go. We called him a "cow-cat" because of his markings -- black saddle on his back with a black tail. He was marked like a black and white cow. Vi was a softy for kitties and bunnies. He wore a "smoking jacket" when he was in the house -- sounds really elegant except it was frayed at the edges. He would hold the bunnies and pet them; and they would chew on his cuffs and collar.
I remember sitting in the living room after roaming the back ground, cutting camillias for the table, playing with the bunnies and kittens. It was a sunken living room and seemed an oasis. Grey wallpaper with big pink roses, a grey/blue sofa, gold armchairs, an oriental rug, a huge Jade plant. We sat there and sipped tea and eggnog as we waited on the pumpkin pie. Gold light streamed from the windows lighting up Aunt Elizabeth's hair as she sat on the sofa holding Papa's hand. Mama and Margaret had stopped washing dishes, Daddy and Vi had emerged from the basement after making mysterious noises from Vi's shop. We sat in the living room and just enjoyed each other's company. I had my head in Aunt Elizabeth's lap and she stroked my hair and I dozed for a while.
I remembered this moment as I dozed in my bed this morning. I had twisted my hair in a french twist last night and saw my Aunt and Cousin looking at me from the mirror. I come downstairs and sit on my blue sofa and a blue oriental rug. I pet my little kitty. They have all passed on -- except for myself and my sister. I suppose that I'm not really dwelling in the null -- I have filled my life with memories of those loving golden moments. In a little while, we are going to a good friend's house. My children will romp in the backyard with the puppies and explore the house. We'll sit on the deck and sip wine. I may even wear a twin-set with pearls. I may take my Book of Worship or Book of Common Prayer and some Jeezits and give thanks that way. My friends are good and loving people. They will love my children as their grandchildren -- and I will help them ease the pain of dealing with aging and dying parents.
After lunch, they will go to the nursing home where they have both of their mamas. Her father is dying 3000 miles away of terminal lung cancer -- and she cannot go. I will help ease their pain maybe a little -- they will ease mine. And then I'll come home and put my turkey breast in the oven for a couple of hours, make the dressing and greenbeans, make the mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce. And my family will give thanks. Because life is good. Life is good. God is good. All the time.