Thursday, February 25, 2010

Day 48 of 365, Dinner Bell

Day 48 of 365, Mom and I met Jeanita at Ryan's for lunch.  Mama had copied an old black and white photo of her cousin, Claude along with his brothers and parents.  Claude was Jeanita's husband.  Sadly, Claude recently passed away due to a heart attack.  Jeanita wanted Mom to enlarge the print so that it can be framed for display at his memorial service to be held Saturday.  Jeanita is doing remarkably well.  I was laughing at her silliness as we took this picture.  I handed our waitress my little point and shoot and asked her to snap the pic.  You see Jeanita's lips are pursed because she is saying "Chicken, Chicken" to the camera.  She is on the South Beach Diet.  She was on Weight Watchers but she said she is doing South Beach now because, "it's almost summer!"  She is so funny.  She has the best outlook and a gift for joyfulness.  Even though, she now has to adjust to a new way of living without her husband, she is still joyful.  I love and adore Jeanita.  I loved Claude too. 

I remember that as a sixth grader, I spent the night with Jeanita and Claude because my mom was staying at the hospital.  Mama was at the hospital because my great grandma was likely to slip away due to cancer.  The cancer came on suddenly an rabid.  It makes me so very sad that I didn't get to communicate with MawMaw Irene in those last couple weeks before she died.  She knew I loved her.  I knew she loved me too.  MawMaw loved her family and thought "the moon and stars hung on each and every one."  The night that she died, I had stayed with Jeanita and Claude, as I mentioned.  I woke up the next morning and Claude was at my side to tell me in his dear, sweet way that MawMaw was gone.  I remember this as if it were yesterday.  We loved MawMaw Irene so much.  The entire, big ole family would meet at MawMaw's for Sunday dinner.  Not just once in a while Sunday dinner, but EVERY Sunday dinner.  She cooked these big wonderful meals for all her family, three generations.  I can't even imagine doing that.  I think I am way too lazy.  But, she did.  And, she did it so happily.  If any one of her kids didn't show, it would make her so sad.  After dinner, we would roll around and hold our stomachs because we were full to the brim.  Eventually, we would all spill out onto the front porch and lawn.  Oh, it was so fun to play and run around in the front yard because the MawMaws, PawPaws, Aunts & Uncles would tell us kids how fast we could run or high we could jump.  For me, I always felt special because that's what they told me I was.  Isn't that a wonderful gift to give a child?  The feeling that they are the best, most unique, talented, athletic & special kid in the whole world?  Yeah, it was a gift that I will always treasure. 

As a little girl, my MawMaw Irene lived on a Louisiana plantation and she was raised by her Mammy.  She was stricken with polio as a child, so she wore a very tall stacked shoe and she had a serious limp.  That did not stop her at all.  She was absolutely the best!  I remember one time, Mama told her, "MawMaw, you do not have to wait on these kids."  MawMaw emphatically replied, "I will wait on them if I have to crawl."  And, that was exactly what she did.  I loved her so much and miss her still today.  

So, this is what I believe.  I believe that Claude has been reunited with his three brothers, Darrell Ray, Wayne and Harry along with his parents, Aunt Yvonne and Uncle Harry.  Plus, there is MawMaw Irene and PawPaw Jack, and other loved ones who have gone on before.  As a Christian we have a beautiful promise that gives us peace that passes all understanding..."In my Father's House there are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you." John 14:2.

I wonder what a banquet table looks like in Heaven and who will be there?  Who will be waiting for you?
This dinner bell stands outside the kitchen quarters of an old plantation establishment. The plantation grounds are on display as a museum of historical artifacts in Baton Rouge, La. Back in the day, no cell phones, no IM's, no text messaging needed. When the workers heard the dinner bell, the message was delivered. Dinner was ready, so, "Come and Get It!"

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