A couple of recollections from days past:
Rita started talking about a trip that she and Dave had been on. I can’t remember where to – let’s say Seattle, Washington. She began “Bruce and I headed down to Seattle …” My heart stopped. I didn’t say a thing but I was transported back to happy times with my former wife, adventures we went on, times when that big smile of hers was shining bright. Oh, the chapters of my life.
When I was visiting Rhonda (Jody’s cousin) near Vancouver, she talked about her dad Roy, who died about five years ago. She talked with love in her eyes and in her voice. I think I only met Roy once. He was in a wheelchair at Norm’s funeral (Jody’s dad). We chatted a bit but I didn’t get a real sense of him. Rhonda definitely helped me out there. “Dad sometimes walked into the kitchen in the morning wearing a flip wig. He would brush it back with his hand.” Oh my. “Other times, he would use a grease pencil to draw a big moustache on his face. He’d sit there as if nothing was out of the ordinary while we kids were dumbfounded.”
So, I sat near an outrageous character at Norm’s funeral and I didn’t have a clue that he was perhaps more “out there” than his kids. My loss.
After leaving Rita and Dave, I drove long and hard towards her sister Beryl in Yakima, Washington. I even gave away two of Jody’s books at a gas station in Mount Vernon, Washington. Got into Yakima after dark, and directions from a friendly McDonald’s employee saw me through the last few kilometres.
Beryl and I spent two hours talking that evening. I told her that she was always my favourite of Rita’s siblings. She told me that her children Scott (46) and Tricia (42) still call me Uncle Bruce. (Sigh) Now I have a new generation that calls me Uncle Bruce – Jody’s brother Lance’s kids – Jaxon (13). Jagger (11) and Jace (8). Blessed again. I get to be with Lance’s clan from August 15 till 30 in Longview, Alberta, southwest of Calgary. Oh my some more. What a trip this is. Lots of people who still love me, and some who are new to me that I’m starting to love. The big human family that we are.
The next morning, Tricia texted her mom from Portland, Oregon. She works in the running department of Nike and remembers me as a runner. Beryl asked if I wanted to reply, and I did. “I have great memories of you as a kid. I hope we meet again.” Tricia responded by saying that she thinks of me often. My goodness, time and space are such flimsy barriers to love. Really no barrier at all. Love wins.
Family … such a fine word. I vote for a hugely broad definition of the term. Like perhaps “All beings everywhere”. Including Portland, Yakima and Vancouver.