“I’ll give you a call soon so we can get together.”
“We have simply got to plan a lunch date soon!”
“Let me look at my calendar and I’ll get back to you.”
We are all guilty of saying these things to our friends and family. We are all so busy that our visits become few and far between. Sometimes it takes something major to remind us of what we are missing in our lives by not taking the time to slow down. Recently, I had a reminder.
My Aunt Edna, who lived in Dublin, died unexpectedly. Her funeral was planned for the Saturday of Father’s Day weekend. We already had made plans with our son, Blake, so I reluctantly let my family know we wouldn’t be able to attend the funeral.
They graciously said they understood, but I still couldn’t get it off my mind. There had to be a way for me to offer my condolences. I looked at my calendar, called my wife, Debra, and asked her what we were doing the Friday before the funeral. “I want to go see my family in Dublin,” I told her.
I contacted my cousin’s wife, Janice, to tell her we were coming. She was so excited and invited us to eat at their house where most of the family was gathering. She wanted to keep our visit a surprise. After a busy morning and early afternoon, we headed southeast.
There was no doubt we had made the right decision as we saw each face light up when we walked in. Various people were coming and going bringing loads of covered dishes filled with Southern comfort food. After the blessing, the line immediately formed — wrapping around the house — to fill our plates with food.
Everything you can imagine was there. I placed a dab of this and smidgen of that on my plate, which filled up quickly. This was the food I was raised on, which I rarely eat anymore. It didn’t take my palette long to remember how much I loved it! I threw healthy eating to the wind and tried to convince myself that it was alright for just one night.
Of all the deliciousness that was there, one large pot caught my attention and lured me in for closer inspection. It was filled to the very top with fresh-cut and creamed corn. I grabbed a bowl, filled it up and liberally applied black pepper.
From the first bite, the corn’s rich and creamy taste propelled me back decades. I remembered my grandmother in her apron stirring a pot of corn on the stove. I remembered Mother enlisting my help with the time consuming and messy job of cutting it off the cob. I closed my eyes and tasted the corn Daddy used to make using bacon drippings to flavor it. In fact, I hadn’t had creamed corn that tasted this good since he died in 2002.
Of course, we ended the meal by sampling a counter top full of every kind of sweet confection you could imagine. We visited as we ate — our stomachs full with food and our hearts full with love.
Afterward, we all headed to the funeral home. As sunlight shifted into darkness, we said our good byes and squeezed our loved ones with hugs. I left with a smile on my face and a bowl of fresh corn for later.
I was so glad I listened to my inner voice and made time to visit my family. On the trip home, I asked Debra, “Why does someone have to die to get us to slow down?”
Visiting a funeral home always reminds us how precious life really is. When we have the chance to visit with family and friends, we should always make time to do it. None of us knows what tomorrow will bring.