Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: The Family Reunion (06/05/08)
TITLE: Family Reunion of Sorts
By Casey Chavez
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I was living in Alabama when I go the call. Mobile, Alabama only 9 and half short hours (translated 598 miles) from my home town of Austin, Texas. I always thought Texas was a part of “The South” until I lived in Mobile…now that’s southern. I moved there by myself with very few acquaintances. It’s a long story. Needless to say, things didn’t always go as planned in Alabama. Between me and my parents we made sure I always had a phone. It was my lifeline home. I spoke to one of my family members at least every two or three days; usually my sisters or my mom. My dad called for only two reasons. He called once every month to ask if I was ready to move home and offered to come right away to get me. Or he called when someone died. That’s right. At one point my dad worked at a funeral home. Some times the person who died was someone random from my past. The conversation went something like this:
Dad: “Remember when you worked at TxDOT?” (Texas Department of Transportation – I worked there for five years)
Dad: “Do you remember a lady who worked on the second floor at Camp Hubbard?” (Okay, TxDOT employs over 10,000 people statewide!)
Me: “I don’t know”
Dad: “Well, she retired two years ago. She died. We held her funeral yesterday. I saw Mr. Soandso there”.
If Dad called I expected something sad. The week before the call, my mom told me about attending a wedding down in South Texas where my dad grew up. One of my cousins got married. Mom said they stopped by the nursing home to see my grandma. My Grandma was a bit of a German pistol. She would check herself into the nursing home when she felt like staying there. She had all her mental facilities about her. My aunt from Minnesota (she’s a nurse at the Mayo Clinic) asked Grandma if she wanted to attend the wedding. Grandma said she wasn’t feeling too good but she made sure everyone stopped to see her either before or after the wedding. She had an opportunity so see all of her children. Then she went to sleep. So dad called and I went. It was a short trip in terms of legnth. I drove to Austin and then rode with my family another 100 miles just south of San Antonio. I didn’t travel the farthest. I had cousins who traveled from Illinois, Minnesota and Arkansas. I remember that it was late summer and hot; it was humid, hair and cloths sticking to you hot. After the funeral we went to my aunt’s house to eat. My aunts house is big but our family is bigger. We remembered. My cousins, my sisters, my aunts and uncles, we all remembered. We laughed together. Grandma would have liked that. She would have sat in the room somewhat stoic because German Grandmas are stoic but she would have laughed on the inside. She was funny. She was witty and quipped but in the driest way. She would have loved the house filled with family. She would have loved all the great-grands running around. It was a family reunion in her honor.
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